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JB\> tbe same Butbor. 

Dedicated by Gracious Permission to 
Her Royal Highness the DUCHESS OF YORK. 


By Marie Trevelyan. 

In Crown 8vo, 408 pages, vellum cloth, Illuminated, 
price 6s. ; gilt edges, 6s. 6d. 

t^ Her Majesty the Queen, H.R.H. the PRINCE OF 
and H.R.H. the DUCHESS OF TECK, have 
each been graciously pleased to accept a copy of 
"Glimpses of Welsh Life and Character." 

" 'Glimpses of Welsh Life and Character' has been a theme 
of admiring conversation since the first day of its appearance." 
— // 'cstcrn Mail, Cardiff. 

"One of the rare books which disappoint the reviewer by 
turning out to be infinitely better than is expected." — Liverpool 





author of 
'glimpses of welsh life and character," "brave little women, 



[A// rights 7'eserved'\ 








lAIR WALES, the region of thrilling song 
and witcbing romance, of gloomy tragedy 
and quaint comedy, is again my theme^ 
and the English who have had glimpses of my 
native land and its people are invited to accom- 
pany me in spirit to the lofty summit of Snowdon 
and the solitary traeth of the sea. 

To the heights of Snowdon, Vortigern retreated 
after the treachery of the Long Knives, and there 
Merlin the magician assisted the king to build 
the wonderful castle, supposed to be impregnable, 
but ultimately destroyed by the enemy, — after 
which, in a lonely valley near the sea, the un- 
fortunate monarch was buried in all his bravery 
of green armour. 

Through the passes of Snowdon, Llewellyn, 
the last native prince of Wales, descended to his 
doom on the banks of the Irvon ; and, from the 

viii Preface 

rocky fastnesses of the same mountain range, 
Prince David was dragged to his barbarous death 
at Rhuddlan. 

After privation, loneliness, and cold, Owen 
Glendower and his men went from the celebrated 
mountain to meet the troops of King Henry the 
Fourth, and, later on, retired to the sea cave 
known as Ogof Owain, where, according to tradi- 
tion, the great leader of rebellion with his soldiers 
wait, ready to rush forth at the command of 
Wales, should an enemy assail the dear old land. 

From the crest of Snowdon to the verge of 
the restless sea waters that wash the Northern, 
Western, and Southern boundaries of Wales, the 
Awen or Muse has descended to the sons and 
daughters of the bards who revered Eryri as the 
Parnassus of the Principality. 

Among the grand and impressive highlands of 
the North, and the pastoral and beautiful low- 
lauds of the South, the traditions, folk-lore, and 
romances that are woven into these stories, have 
been collected. 

To itinerant preachers, to the humble and 
primitive peasantry, to the grand-sire who holds 
the place of honour iu the fireside corner of 
the settle, and to grand-dames, who, while knit- 

Preface ix 

ting, croon at eventide over the long ago, I 
am indebted for the threads that form the warp 
and woof of my mental weavings, which I hope 
will aid in briD^iDor Eno^land and Wales into still 
closer communion, under the good old Welsh 
motto, '' Galon AVrth Galon "— '' Heart to Heart." 
My publisher, Mr. John Hogg, once more 
entering into the spirit of the Geltic subject, 
as in the case of my former work, " Glimpses of 
Welsh Life and Character," suo^o-ested a national 
emblem for the cover design of this book. In 
preparing the sketch of the arms supplied by 
the Heralds' College, most valuable assistance 
has been kindly and courteously rendered by 
Mr. Everard Green (" Eouge Dragon"), who 
thus certifies the design : — 

^' I hereby certify that the arms on the other 

side are those of Llewellyn, Prince of North 

Wales, and of Khys ap Tewclwr, the last King 

of South Wales, who bore the arms of Howell 

Dda his ancestor, as did the subsequent Princes 

of South Wales. 

" Everard Green " 

("Eouge Dragon"). 
The shields of Prince Llewellyn and of Khys 

viii Preface 

rocky fastnesses of the same mountain range, 
Prince David was dragged to his barbarous death 
at Khuddlan. 

After privation, loneliness, and cold, Owen 
Glendower and his men went from the celebrated 
mountain to meet the troops of King Henry the 
Fourth, and, later on, retired to the sea cave 
known as Ogof Owain, where, according to tradi- 
tion, the great leader of rebellion with his soldiers 
wait, ready to rush forth at the command of 
Wales, shoidd an enemy assail the dear old land. 

From the crest of Snowdon to the verge of 
the restless sea waters that wash the Northern, 
Western, and Southern boundaries of Wales, the 
Awen or Muse has descended to the sons and 
daughters of the bards who revered Eryri as the 
Parnassus of the Principality. 

Among the grand and impressive highlands of 
the North, and the pastoral and beautiful low- 
lands of the South, the traditions, folk-lore, and 
romances that are woven into these stories, have 
been collected. 

To itinerant preachers, to the humble and 
primitive peasantry, to the grand-sire who holds 
the place of honour in the fireside corner of 
the settle, and to grand-dames, who, while knit- 

Preface ix 

ting, croon at eventide over the long ago, I 
am indebted for the threads that form the warp 
and woof of my mental weavings, which I hope 
will aid in bringino^ Endand and Wales into still 
closer communion, under the good old Welsh 
motto, '' Galon Wrth Galon "— " Heart to Heart." 
My publisher, Mr. John Hogg, once more 
entering into the spirit of the Geltic subject, 
as in the case of my former work, '' Glimpses of 
Welsh Life and Character," suo^gested a national 
emblem for the cover design of this book. In 
preparing the sketch of the arms supplied by 
the Heralds' College, most valuable assistance 
has been kindly and courteously rendered by 
Mr. Everard Green ("Eouge Dragon"), who 
thus certifies the design : — 

" I hereby certify that the arms on the other 

side are those of Llewellyn, Prince of North 

Wales, and. of Ehys ap Tewclwr, the last King 

of South AVales, who bore the arms of Howell 

Dda his ancestor, as did the subsequent Princes 

of South Wales. 

" Everard Green " 

(" Eouge Dragon "). 
The shields of Prince Llewellyn and of Ehys 

X Preface 

ap Tewclwr, uDited above the motto of tbe 
Bardic Chair of Dyfed (Dimetia), which is also 
frequently called tbe Chair of South Wales 
(Deheubartb), are most appropriate symbols for 
a volume of stories founded upon Welsh tradi- 
tions and folk-lore. 
















• 13 


■ 36 


• 48 


. 68 

THE supernatural) . 


















[n. GLAMORGAN . . 182 





\ 22c; 

BAY . 





[anglesea and 







[n. wales 










Zbc flDaetcr of Xiant^eilio 


m ^ 


IT was a midsummer bush. 

Not a sound could be heard save the 
ceaseless murmurino' of the sacred Dee, 

as it rushed over the Horse Shoe Weir, or the 
occasional chauutinof of missel thrushes in the 
elm trees fring^iuo^ the foamino: torrent. 

The cloudless sky, gleaming like sapphire, 
was clearly reflected upon the river, where tree- 
shadows fell brokenly as the sun-kissed waters 
glided serenely onward to the verge of the 

Noontide splendour filled the beautiful Vale of 
Llantysilio with golden glory. 

Through woven branches and wild rose sprays, 

the sunlight slanted downward into peaceful 

pasture lands, where sweet meadow grasses 

mingled with red and purple clover bloom, and 

delicate ferns fringed the luxuriant hedge-rows. 


14 The Master of Llantysilio 

Blackbirds nestled closely in their leafy re- 
treats, the yellow hammer moved more lazily 
than usual, water ouzels darted to and fro beside 
the Dee waters, and water wagtails and linnets 
vied with each other in idly dipping their heads 
and wings in the river, then scattering silvery 
showers like dewdrops on the mossy sward. 

So sultry and still was the noontide, that the 
sheep and cattle were gathered together under the 
shady trees which here and there were grouped 
about the fields, while even the ever restless 
Welsh mountain ponies, known as " merlyns," 
were obliged to lie down in cool shadows. 

Where now the pretty church of Llantysilio 
stands, an older edifice stood in the latter half of 
the last century, and, on the site of the modern 
hall, an ancient residence was then to be found. 

The old ivy-covered church crumbling to decay, 
stood as a monument of the far past, when cowled 
monk and girdled friar moved leisurely to and 
fro the beautiful valleys of Wales, and the sound 
of the Angelus penetrated the narrow ravines or 
floated like a mystic melody downward with the 
Dee waters. 

The ancient Hall looked grand and stately in 
the midsummer glow. 

Not a shadow flecked the flood of sunshine 
that filled the mossy lawns and terraces, where 
the hoary sundial recorded the fleeting hours, 

A Welshman of the Old School 1 5 

and, above and beyond it, the gilded weather- 
vane stood motionless upon the ivy-covered out- 

In the cool and shady study, looking on to 
the terrace, the Master of the Hall was busily 
engaged in writing. His swift and impatient pen 
hurried over page after page, and, wdien that work 
was completed, he began summing up various 
accounts. The occupation of casting and balanc- 
ing was by no means congeuial to the Scjuire of 
Llantysilio, whose expenditure was always greater 
than his income. Presently he dashed his pen 
upon the table, leaned back ia his comfortable 
chair, and began running his fingers through the 
heavy masses of his dark hair, wdiere silvery 
threads already appeared. 

The Squire — or Master, as he was generally 
called — of Llantysilio, was a handsome man 
above the average height of modern AYelshmen. 
He was sprightly, somewhat proud, reticent, but 
extremely good-natured. In his dark eyes a 
fiery light lurked, ready to flash forth lightnings 
when matters w^ent wrong, and his keen-cat 
mouth curved wdth scorn w4ien anything affected 
his dignity. He was a Welshman of the old 
school — a typical gentleman of the period, when 
to be deeply in debt was the rule, and to be 
fairly sober w^as the exception. 

The Master of Llantysilio was the youngest 

1 6 The Master of Llantysilio 

survivor of three brothers, all of whom had been 
brought up by their only half-sister, k. own iu 
her aore as Madam. She was about six..7-eio;ht 
and the Master was forty-five. Not one the 
brothers ever married or thought of marriage, 
and the Master was, to the world of Llantysilio, 
a bachelor, though it was rumoured that he had 
a wife and children in England, where he spent 
most part of the year. 

Madam said she was married to Duty, but 
she believed the Master had " some kind of tie 
somewhere." Else how could the money go so 
fast ? She had been a " saving woman" all her 
lifetime, but all her economy failed to bring the 
Master's expenditure w^ithin the limits of his 

Thoughts like these kept running in her mind, 
while she replenished the pot-pourri and harvested 
the lavender on that sultry midsummer morning. 

" Is Kobin Ddu coming; to-morrow ? " asked 
the Master, breaking in on Madam's reverie. 

" That is more than I can tell," replied Madam. 
" Eobin is flighty. If he wills it to come, he 
will come." 

Eobert Lloyd, the tailor of Llangollen, was 
popularly known by the soubriquet of Eobin Ddu 
— pronounced The — or Black, because some said 
he was acquainted with the hlach art. 

Even as the Master and Madam were speaking. 

Robin Ddu \ y 

Robin Ddu appeared coming up the drive, like 
a long thin shadow fleeting across the sunshine. 
He was a tall shadowy man, with a wan and 
ghost-like face, hollow eyes, hollow cheeks, and 
high cheek-bones. His whole frame was painfully 
attenuated, and his long, thin arms and bony 
hands looked more like angular appendages of a 
wooden doll than limbs of real flesh and blood. 

" The more you do feed him, the thinner he 
do look," said the farmer folk ; and the villagers 
added, '' Robin Ddu is tormented by a ghost." 

Strange stories were told about him, all of 
which were discredited by both the Master and 
Madam. But country people from Llangollen 
to Llantysilio declared that the tailor heard un- 
earthly noises, and saw strange sights, and went 
through gruesome midnight experiences, all of 
which caused his poor wretched body to waste 
away, even though, wherever he worked, '*the 
best of food " was put before him. 

He was the best tailor " for forty miles round," 
and it was regarded as quite a favour to be able 
to obtain Robin Ddu's services. Robin booked 
engagements twelve months in advance, and, as 
a rule, regularly as clockwork fulfilled them. 

In those days as now, in many parts of Wales, 
the tailors went from house to house, working 
for weeks in one family, just as dressmakers in 
country places do in these times. 

The Master of Llantysilio 

Kobin Ddu was anuouiicecl, the servant letting 
him into the morning-room, where the Master and 
Madam stood beside the harvested Lavender. 

" Sirr ! " said Eobin with a strong double r, 
and bowing respectfully to the Master, '' I did 
think to finish at the parson's to-day, but I kent 
till to-morrow night, an' if you'd be so kind as 
to wait till then for me, I shall be thankful. 
The parson's boys " 

" What have the parson's boys to do with me ? " 
said the Master, impatiently stamping his foot. 

" Nothin', sirr — nothin' whatever. But now 
an' then we do like to 'blige a neighbour, 
an' " 

'•' Neighbour, indeed ! " exclaimed the Master. 
" The parson's no neighbour of mine ! I say you 
must begin to work here to-morrow morning." 

" Why will you be so unreasonable ? " remarked 
Madam. " A day makes little difference to you. 
I should think to-morrow night, or Thursday 
morning, would do well enough. You're in no 
immediate hurry." 

" Much you know about it," exclaimed the 
Master. " Six months ago, Eobin promised to 
begin work on Midsummer Day, and begin on 
that day he shall ! " 

"Very good, sirr; very good," said Eobin. 
" I '11 put the work by, and come here by eight 
o'clock to-morrow mornin'." 

Madam and the Tailor 19 

With that, Eobiii Dclu bowed himself out of 
the room, and Madam followed. 

" You'll take a crust of bread and cheese 
and a tankard of cwriv da'' said Madam to 
the tailor. 

'' Thank you kindly," replied Eobin, following 
Madam to the servants' hall. 

" The Master is getting more impatient and 
irritable than ever," remarked Madam confi- 
dentially to Robin, while he took the offered 

"It's his way, Madam," replied Robin. " 'Twas 
the natur of all the gentlemen of the Hall. There 
was Master Griffith — he worrited hisself to 

'' Yes ; but he had a cause after Gwen Hughes 
jilted him." 

" Well, Master David was jest the same," 
added Robin. " He was always a troublin' his 
mind 'bout somethin' or another." 

'^ He was never well," pleaded Madam. "But 
my brother Owen has no cause for impatience 
and irritability." 

" How do we know, Madam ? Perhaps he's 
got his worries in Llundain (London), or them 
other places he- do go to." 

" But what worries or cares can he have 
there \ " curiously asked Madam. 

" How do I know. But they do say," said 

20 The Master of Llaiitysilio 

Eobin, cautiously lowering his voice, " the Master 
spends a sight o' money in Llundain." 

" I thiuk so too," said Madam. " But the ex- 
travagance and irritability of Owen, and Griffith, 
and David come from their mother's side. My 
mother was most amiable, but " 

" So I've heerd my father tell," interrupted 

" But their mother — my stepmother, you know 
— was always fretful, though she died wlien 
Owen was only a year old." 

"I've heerd them say so," said Robin, looking 
up with a start when the cuckoo clock struck the 
hour of one. 

" How Madam ken talk to Robin Ddu as much 
as she do, I don't know," commented one servant 
to another in the butler's pantry. 

" I'm afeard of him," said the housemaid. 

" An' I wouldn't meet him in the dark for the 
life of me," added the cook. 

Five minutes later Robin Ddu fleeted like a 
shadow through the sunshine, his attenuated 
form looking cold and ghost-like even in the 
splendour of midsummer. 

Robin Ddu toiled hard and fast throug;h the 
burning hours of that afternoon. It was after 
eight o'clock when he put his work aside and 
went to his lodgings. He was, as a rule, very 
reticent, talking freely only to those with whom 

The Heritage of Ghostly Annoyance 2 1 

he had been thoroughly familial- all bis lifetime. 
To his few chosen friends he admitted that both 
he and " his father before him " were haunted. 
It was said that Robin's grandfather had robbed 
an aged aunt of a large sum of money which she 
had saved for her only daughter. The old woman 
on her deathbed bes^cred for restitution, which 
was promised ; but the daughter eventually 
died of starvation, while her heartless cousin 

Soon after the death of the injured woman, 
her cousin became an altered man. People said 
that the aged aunt and her daughter haunted 
him. At last he declared he could not get any 
rest between midnight and sunrise, and very 
often in the day he was pinched, struck, and tor- 
mented by unseen assailants. 

In a few years his business went to its lowest 
ebb, then he died. 

The heritage of ghostly annoyance fell to his 
son, who became a soldier, and sought in change 
of scene and active life, respite from the angered 
ghosts. He returned home to Wales, and was 
worried almost to death by the obnoxious ghosts, 
who would not give him peace by night or day. 
The worst part of it all was that Robin, even as 
a child, looked ghost-ridden. He was apprenticed 
to a tailor, and then became a soldier, but from 
his youth upw^ard he was very delicate. Soon 

2 2 The Master of Llantysilio 

after his father's death the ghosts began to worry 
him, and continued to do so from manhood to 
middle age. 

" They do never give me an hour's peace," 
lamented Eobin to his friend Timothy, with 
whom he always lodged when working in the 
n eighbourhood of Llantysilio. " I be better when 
I'm away from home. But wherever I do go 
they do find me out, if 'tis only for a little 

"Did you never try to get somebody to lay 
the ghosts ? " asked his friend. 

" Lay these here ghosts ! " exclaimed Eobin. 
" There'll be no layin to them till I be in my 
grave ! " 

Robin sighed deeply. 

Later on he went out for a stroll. It was a 
glorious night — that Eve of St. John and mid- 
summer. Moonbeams fell in silvery radiance 
upon the waters of the Dee as the river poured 
ceaselessly over the Horse Shoe Weir, and the 
dark trees looked like grim sentinels standing 
out clear ao^ainst the moonlio-ht. 

Eobin Ddu walked on like one in a dream. 
To him it was a pleasure to find peace and rest 
of body and brain. Li his reverie he thought of 
the Eve of St. John, of the many associations 
and superstitions connected therewith ; then 
feeling more peaceful than he had felt for many 

A Ghostly Visitant 23 

months, lie returued to liis lodoino-s and went to 

Eobin Ddu slept well for the first three hours 
that night, even though the moonlight, streaming 
in throuo^h the curtained window, almost forbade 

Just as the clock struck i a.m., Robin 
awoke, and fanch^d he felt a breath of cold air 
in the room. The moon was setting, and the 
lififht in the window had become dim and 
shadowy, when suddenly he heard the latch of 
the door clicking. Robin Ddu turned in his 
bed. He expected his usual ghostly visitants, 
instead of which he saw a mysterious and 
stately lady, robed in grey, coming towards 
him from the doorway. She went to Eobin, 
touched him on the lips with an icy finger, and 
whispered, " Follow me." 

Robin hesitated, but the lady moved to the 
doorway, and therefrom earnestly beckoned him 
with her forefinger and whispered, '' Come ! 
Come ! " 

Robin Ddu, fearful of incurring the dis- 
pleasure of the apparition, dressed himself 

The ghostly visitor, in a calm and dignified 
manner, preceded Robin downstairs, and out on 
to the road. She went on a little ahead of her 
companion, and led the way to Llantysilio church. 

24 The Master of Llantysilio 

To Eobiii's surprise pale tapers shed ghostly 
lio-ht throucrli the church windows. The church 
door was open, and the spectral lady, followed 
by Eobin, entered. Then the apparition led 
him to the chancel, and vanished. 

Alone, before the altar steps stood Robin Ddu. 
The pale glimmering radiance of lighted tapers 
illuminated the altar, and shed a dim and un- 
earthly light upon all the surrounding objects. 

Robin Ddu's teeth chattered, and he chafed 
his long thin hands to get warmth into them. 
The night, or rather, the morning air was 
keenly cold, quite unlike the atmosphere of 
midsummer, and a sudden gust of wind threw 
open the chancel door, through which, in the 
dawn-light, a spectral figure entered. It was 
that of a tall man, clothed in a swallow-tailed 
coat, with dark plush knee-breeches, white 
stockings, and low shoes with bows on the 
insteps. His white wig was tied at the base 
with black ribbons. He was soon followed by 
two other men dressed after the same fashion. 
The trio entered wnthin the altar rails, and 
turned their faces towards the stone cross above 
the communion table. In hollow sepulchral 
tones the three spectral figures denounced the 
Master of the Hall. 

"Woe be to him walkino: ! " said one in a 
hoarse, unearthly voice. 

The Ciirse from the Altar 25 

" AVoe be to liim standino- ! " almost grroaned 
the second figure. 

"Woe be to bini sitting!" wailed the third 

" Woe-be-to-hini- where ver-he-goes ! " chanted 
the trio as in one voice. 

The first speaker then turned round face 
towards the nave. 

Eobin Ddu shuddered. 

The speaker's face was white as with passiou, 
and from his eyes a straiige and lurid light 
flasljed, as he said — " Let him think Avhat he 
may, the Master of the Hall shall not die a 
natural death. He shall go to his grave un- 
mourned and forgotten. When he dies, the 
Hall shall be seized by one without legal right 
to it. Strangers shall dwell therein, and, in 
course of time, the Hall shall crumble to the 
ground. Thereon shall rank and noxious weeds 
grow, and when the mouldering wall can no 
longer stand, a new Hall shall be built to cover 
the ruins of the old habitation ! " 

Tlie sjDCctral figures then vanished, and, a 
moment later, a tall gentleman of military ap- 
pearance strode into the chancel, entered the 
Hall-pew, looked around, then passed down the 
nave, and went out through the west door of 
the church. 

Eobin Ddu, trembling from head to foot, and 

26 The Master of Llantysilio 

shivering with cold, stood as one tran.^fixed with 
amazement. He rubbed his eyes. Was it a 
dream, or real ? 

At that moment the altnr lights went out, 
and the o-olden radiance of sunrise streamed in 
throuoh the stained-olass window of the cliance], 
already gorgeous with prismatic colours. 

Eobin Ddu walked slowly to the western door, 
which he found open as when he entered. He 
returned to his lodgings, where his friend 
Timothy's wife greeted him with a pleasant 
"Good morning;" adding, "You've been out 
for a walk betimes, Kobin." 

"Ay!" he replied, drawing near the newdy- 
lighted fire. 

"Art cold?" asked Timothy, coming in later 
on from his work. 

" That I be," replied Robin. 

"Seen ghosts agen, I s'pose," remarked 

"Ay! Ay!" said Eobin. 

"AVell, well! Thee'rt an odd one," said 
Timothy. " I do b'lieve thee wast born at mid- 
night of a Nos dydd Calan. Thee'rt a man of 
second sight sure — ly ! But come to breakfast." 

Eobin broke his fast in almost complete 
silence, and afterwards went to the Hall, where 
he soon commenced working away upon the 
Master's clothes. 

The Master s Dream 2 J 

At nine o'clock Madam put in an appearance, 
and at ten o'clock the Master strode into the 

" So you've come," said the Master. 

'' Yes, sirr," replied Eobin. '' An how may 
you please to find your.<elf, sirr ? " 

''Pretty fair, pretty fair," said the Master, 
sinking into the deptlis of a big arm-chair near 
Kobin's low deal work-table. 

The Master of Llantysilio ran his fingers 
thiough his hair, then he got up and restlessly 
paced the room. 

" I know you believe in ghosts," said the 
Master suddenly. 

"Ay, ay, sirr!" chimed in Robin. 

" But do you believe in dreams ? " asked the 
Master, curiously scanning the tailor's face. 

" I do believe in some dreams," said Robin. 
" But it isn't everybody as has dreams what do 
come true." 

" Mine never come true," continued the 
Master impetuously. "But I had an odd dream 
last nio^ht." 

The Master crossed the rooni, shut the door, 
then sank again into the arm-chair, and told his 

" I dreamt that three bad men came and 
dragged me from my bed, and took me to the 
church. There, before the high altar, they 

28 The Master of Llaiitysilio 

blasphemously denounced me, and one of tliem 
said the cause of my death should be unnatural. 
I felt miserable, and returned home. As soon 
as I entered the Hall, a military-looking man 
ordered me out. I refused to go, whereupon he 
took me by the shoulders and turned me out. 
He bolted and barred the doors, and I found 
myself left to the mercy of the world, or to die 
on the roadside." 

The Master shivered as though cold, yet great 
beads of burning sweat moistened his forehead, 
followed by fevered heat, then by icy coldness. 

Eousing himself, he imperiously asked, " What 
is the meaning of my dream ? Tell the truth ; 
screen nothing, Eobin Ddu." 

Robin set aside his needle. 

" It is a dream of warnin', I should say, sirr," 
said the tailor. 

"Warninfr'? warning to me? What have I 
done, what do I do, that I should need a warn- 
ing from anybody?" asked the Master almost 

"You did tell me ti) give you the truth an 
screen nothin'," said Robin, who had descended 
from his table and stood upon the floor. 

Robin Ddu drew himself up to his full height, 
his long attenuated figure looking shadowy in 
the sunlight, his hollow eyes and high cheek 
bones appearing ghostly even in the warm day- 

Robin s JVainiing- 29 


time. Dark rings were under Lis eyes, bis 
fingers trembled, his br;iin whirled with the 
memory of the last night's scene and present 
thoughts of the Master's dreams. 

"Beware !" exclaimed Eobin Ddu, in a husky 
voice, as he raised the forefinger of his right hand 
at the Master ; '' beware of three bad men, who 
will tempt thee to do evil ; and beware of the 
military man, who means to work out thy 
destruction ! " 

" My destruction !" shouted the Master, stamp- 
in oj his foot until the room ran or with the sound. 

"My destruction!" reiterated the Master. 
" Thy warning shall be thy destruction for a very 
certainty !" he continued. " Give up thy work, 
thou ghost-ridden skeleton ; I can find another 
tailor ! " 

"So be it," said Robin Ddu. "When I've 
done this work I'll go. There's a plenty waitin' 
for me for forty miles round." 

The Master was in a rage, and strode out of 
the room, while, through another door. Madam 
came in. 

"What's all this hubbub about?" asked 

Eobin told her all, screening: nothino^ of that 
which had passed between him and the Master ; 
but to Madam he related his experiences of the 
previous night. 

30 The Master of Llantysilio 

He dared not have told so much to the Master. 

Madam was surprised, and to some extent 

" The Master ought to take warnin'/' said 
Robin Ddu. " I kent say I do like that dream, 
coming after what I did see with my own eyes." 

" But warning in what way ? " asked Madam. 

"I do believe that the Master do gamble," 
said Robin firmly ; "an' L do believe he do lose 
money thereby." 

"Never!" exclaimed Madam, testily adding, 
"Not one of our boys or our family was ever 
given to gaming ! " 

" 'Tisn't for me to speak on the Master's 
private afi'airs, Madam ; but as 1 do live he's 
given to gamin'." 

" I know he has expensive tastes," said Madam 
quietly, " and he uses a lot of money. There's 
always more going out than coming in. But 
where the Master takes the money is more than 
1 can tell." 

" He do take the money to the gamblin' table 
as safe as I'm a living man. Madam," said the 

" I'll find out if there's any truth in what you 
say," said Madam, " and, if possible, put a stop 
to his gaming. That any one of our family 
should be given to such evil ways is more than 
I can at present believe. But time will tell." 

Let Bygones be Bygones 

Madam quitted tlie room, and soon was busily 
engaged in turning the sun-dried lavender and 
adding to the pot-pourri. 

" Eobin Ddu ! " shouted the Master from the 

Eobin quickly responded. 

"Come here," said the Master, flourishino- his 
hunting-crop above his head. 

Eobin went towards the Master. 

"Thee dost deserve a sound thrashing," said 
the Master. ''But I'll let thee off this time 
with only a — a — warning ! " 

The Master brought liis hunting-crop with a 
crack upon the great oaken table in the Hall. 

" Eobin Ddu ! " shouted the Master. 

'' Yes, sirr," replied the tailor. 

'' If thee dost repeat the offence, look out for 
thy head," said the Master. 

Eobin smiled. 

'"Tis no smiling work," continued the Master, 
whose irascibility was always impetuous, but 
soon over. " Only remember this, take — warn- 
ing in time. Now, go to work." 

" I leave to-night," said Eobin. 

" No, no, Eobin Ddu," said the Master. " Let 
bygones be bygones. Go to work for the 
time I've hired thee. There, go and have a 
tankard of beer. It'll put flesh upon thy 

32 TJie Master of Llantysilio 

With that the Master strode away, and Robin 
Ddu repaired to the servants' hall, Avhere Madam 
served him with her own hands. 

Robin fulfilled his term of engagement at 
Llantysilio, and, in due course, returned home 
to Llano'ollen. 

The news of the tailor's night visit to Llanty- 
silio church was soon whispered abroad, but 
people kept it from the Master. 

Henceforth, wherever Robin went, the memory 
of that Eve of St. John and midsummer kept 
beside him like a grim shadow which would 
not be shaken off. 

Several years passed. 

The waters of the Dee still ran over the Horse 
Shoe Weir, and, as of old, the Master of the 
Hall went to and fro, now fiercely scolding, and 
now immoderately praising those around him. 

Robin Ddu still plied his needle, paid his 
periodical visits to Llantysilio, and as usual 
went to the Hall. 

One day in the autumn of a year that had been 
very rainy, the Master went to the cellar to de- 
cant some wine. By some mischance he missed 
his footing, slipped and fell on some of the 
bottles, and severely cut his hand with the 
broken glass. 

For several hours the bleeding could not be 

The Stranger's Arrival 

staunched, and afterwards a wound formed which 
became obstinate, and would not heal. 

The Master went to London, and remained 
there for more than a year, much to Madam's 
vexation. The hand grew worse, and the Master 
returned home. Madam tenderly nursed him, 
but all her care was of no avail. Worse and 
worse became the wound, and at length the 
Master died of what doctors to-day call "blood- 

On the mornincy of the funeral Robin Ddu, 
with others, came to take a last look at the 
Master, whose face had a peaceful expression, 
though the features were worn almost to a 
shadow with sufferino-. 

At the hour named for the funeral a gentle- 
man, of niilitary appearance, arrived at the Hall 
in order to take part, he said, in the ceremony. 
He was not known — not even to Madam. 

But Eobin Ddu, standing far back among the 
shadows of the entrance-hall, recognised in the 
stranger the man of St. Johns Eve and the 
Master's dream. 

The funeral procession set out, and the keen 
eyes of the tailor noticed that the stranger did 
not follow the mourners, nor mingle with the 
tenantry and general public. 

Robin remarked this to his friend Timothy, 
who walked with him in the procession. 

34 The Master of Llantysilio. 

'' P'rhaps he's behind us," whispered Timothy. 

" I don't think so," said Eobin. " I do think 
he do mean no good." 

It happened as the tailor prophesied. 

When the mourners— chief of whom wasMadam 
— returned to the Hall, they could not re-enter. 
Every door was bolted and barred — every window 
was securely fastened. The military man had 
taken possession of the place. 

From the top of the porch to which he had 
rrained access by means of the French window, 
the stranger informed Madam, and those of the 
Master's next-of-kin who were present, that he 
claimed the Hall as a stake he had won when 
gambling with the late proprietor. He further 
stated that as soon as his solicitors arrived from 
London, Madam should come in and take out 
all her own possessions in the shape of goods 
and chattels. 

Madam, broken down with grief for the loss 
of her brother, found herself suddenly and un- 
expectedly, in her age, turned out of house and 

All the people of Llantysilio, and many miles 
around, offered shelter to Madam, but the rector 
and his wife took her to the Rectory, W'here she 
was to remain until her rightful property was 

But Madam died of a broken heart in six 

After Long Years 35 

months after the Master, and was buried in the 
sarae grave as her brothers. 

The estate was thrown into Chancery, and 
remained there for long years, and when it came 
at hist into the possession of the Master's next-of- 
kin, the walls bad crumbled away and the Hall 
was almost a ruin. The owners — remote rela- 
tives of the Master and Madam — being too poor 
to rebuild the Hall, sold the ground on which 
it stood, and the estate that surrounded it. 

On the site of the old mansion a new Hall was 
built, and strangers paced the mossy lawns and 
flower gardens, where the Master of Llantysilio 
once loved to wander, and where silvery-haired 
Madam replenished her pot-pourri, and harvested 
her sweet lavender in the midsummers of lon.o^ 

IRoocr flOevnncIV^ IRi&e 


ONG stretches of purple heather fringed 
the brown moorknd pools, around which 
yellow marsh marigolds bloom in pro- 
lusion in the spriug, and tall golden irises hold 
their heads aloft in the early summer. 

It was a 2:lorious evenino;. The mellow radiance 
of the autumnal sunset glowed in the western 
sky, lighting up for a brief time the darkest 
corners, and gilding the tarnished livery of the 

To the south, the Severn Sea was almost lost 
in the golden haze, through which the Steep 
Holm loomed like a fairy fortress or a lonely 
dream island, where one could forget the bitter 
past, and conjure up a mystical future that should 
atone for the uncertain present. 

Here and there, on the sea, the ships looked 

like phantoms gliding to or from unknown 



The Vale of Worship 37 

havens, and the little skiffs sailed lazily along 
like a fairy flotilla bonnd for the islands of the 

To the west, embowered in woodlands, is the 
Vale of Worship, dotted here and there by hoary 
and moss-OTown druidical stones, bevond which 
stands the laro^est cron>lech in all Britain. 

Looking from the high moorland, the sur- 
rounding country appeared like a fairy realm 
stretching towards the region of the setting sun. 

On the outskirts of the moorland a few strag- 
gling cottages remained in the days of which I 
write, and in one of these lived an old woman 
known by the sobriquet of "Mary the Downs." 

Waste common land, moorland, and unenclosed 
heaths are frequently called "the downs" in 

Mary lived on St. Lythan's Down, near St. 
Nicholas, in the Vale of Glamorgan. She re- 
tained a bright intellect, and could thread her 
needle without the aid of glasses at the age of 
ninety-three, and even then remembered all the 
old folk-stories that were told in her childhood. 
In her quaint Anglo-Cymric 'patois she w^ould 
tell the tales of her grandmother, and all the 
traditions, and nursery stories, handed orally 
down from one ^feneration to another. She 
remembered ministers and pious men coming 
long distances to lay ghosts, and she was per- 

38 Roger Mey rick's Ride 

fectly certain lier great-grandni other was a friend 
of the ''little people," as the fairies are some- 
times called in Wales. The Tylwyth Teg and 
the Bendith-y-Mamau had visited Cogan Pill in 
her own childhood, and she had been fairy-led 
in a field near Wenvoe Castle when quite a 
grown woman ! She had also found strange 
small silver in her own new tin money-box be- 
fore anybody had placed a contribution therein. 
Mary would not have it that her mother had 
possibly put some small silver in the box "for 
luck's sake." 

Seated in her arm-chair beside the glowing 
fire, Mary would tell her stories as long as any- 
body cared to listen, and many pleasant hours 
could be wiled away in the old woman's company. 
Her language was not polished, and sometimes 
it became confused ; but she was one of the last 
of the old Welsh story-tellers, the last of a 
generation that has seen its day, and is lost in 
the peaceful past. 

"Did you ever hear the story of Cast ell Carreg? " 
asked Mary. 

I told her I had heard much about the cele- 
brated cromlech, and others of its kind in the 

" Oh, 'tis nothin' 'bout the Druids an' Bards," 
said she. " 'Tis a story my great-grandfather 
used to tell my grandfather." 

The Battle of St. Fagan 39 

Mary related the story in her own old fashion. 
I have woven it thus : — 

Although nearly five years had passed since the 
terrible battle of St. Fagan's was fought, the con- 
flict was still cruelly fresh in the people's memory, 
and many lamented the loss of relatives and friends 
as if they had only just been severed from them. 

In the lowest end of the druidical A^ale of 
Worship, a small farm-house called Northcliffe 
nestles under the trees in a veritable sleepy 
hollow. Away beyond it, broad meadow lands 
stretch from the mill of Duffryn to that of 
Lidmoor, both in full working order in the days 
of Cromwell. On the heights above Northcliffe 
stood Sutton, then a quaint old Tudor -built 
house, now it is an ordinary farm. Even in 
the present days of toil and traffic, Northcliffe is 
secluded ; still, in the stream that flows through 
the mill-meaclows, otters are to be seen, and 
still in the orchards the nightingales sing, as 
though the world was in its youth. 

Eoger Meyrick of Northcliffe was a rich man 
before Cromwell scoured the country, but after- 
wards he found it difficult to make ends meet. 
He had lost two sons in the battle of St. Fagan's, 
and one of them had left a widow and children, 
the care of whom fell to Roger's lot. Another 
son, named Cyril, was taken prisoner, and still 
remained in exile. 

40 Roger Meyrick's Ride 

Late in the autumn of 1649, Eoger Meyrick 
took the path through the fields in the Vale of 
Worship, and passed Castell Carreg on his way 
to the village of St. KichoLas. He had many 
calls to make, and twilight was deepening into 
night, when he started to walk home again, this 
time by way of the road. 

Autumn leaves fluttered silently downward 
into one of the most beautiful roadways in South 
Wales. Broad margins of grass are on each 
side of the thoroughfare, and, nnder stately and 
ancient oaks and elms, a sparkling brook glides 
onward to the valley below. Hoary oaks, that 
Ijave stood the storms of centuries, crown each 
upland, and groves of the same venerable trees 
still remain where once the Druids worshipped. 

As Eoger Meyrick w^ent past the Manor House, 
St. Nicholas, where chestnut trees form a dense 
canopy even in the daytime, and make the road- 
way as dark as night, early in the evening a man 
accosted him. 

"It is dark hereabouts," said the man. 

*'That it is," replied Eoger; "but who may 
you be?" 

" You know my voice, don't you ? " asked the 

" I can't say that I do," replied Eoger. 

"Don't you remember Miles Button of Sheep- 
cote ? " asked the strano-er. 

Roger s Companion 41 

" I do. He was taken prisoner at the battle 
of St. Fagan's." 

" Yes, and lie had a son named Morgan," said 
the stranger. 

" I remember," said Roger, sighing deeply. 
'' Poor fellow ! He was killed in the great 

" Was he ? " curiously asked the stranger. 

"To be sure he was," said Eoger sorrow^fully. 

" No, no," said the man decidedly. 

"Well, if he wasn't killed, why didn't he 
come home when 'twas safe for him to come ? 
'Tis goin' on five years since that terrible battle." 

Roger sighed deeply, and tears filled liis eyes. 

" Morgan Button escaped," said the stranger 
hurriedly ; " he went abroad and returned." 

" When did he come back ? " asked Roger. 

" The last week in October," replied the man. 

" I've not heard a word about it," said Roger, 
somewhat tartly. 

Roger Meyrick was always one of the earliest 
to know the gossip of the country-side, and re- 
sented the idea of anybody else being first in 
the field. 

" You may not have heard the news," said 
the strano-er, "but he's come for all that." 

Just then the men emero:ed out of the dense 
shadows into the twilight, and immediately Roger 
Meyrick recognised his companion. 

42 Roger Mey rick's Ride 

" Well indeed ! " exclaimed Eooer. " Sure 
enough 'tis Morgan Button himself ! But what 
do you come this way for ? Why don't you go 
to Sheepcote ? " 

" To tell the truth," said Morgau, low^ering 
his voice, '' I want to keep out of the way for 
a bit. My father is home, and I've been a bad 
boy — spent too much money, and he's augered 
about it. My mother asked me to keep away 
from the house for a few weeks." 

"And where may you be staying?" asked 

" With the people of Tinkin's Wood," was the 

" Oh ! with the Powells ? " 

" The same." 

The men walked slowly on in the growing 
darkness, until they reached the little bridge 
spanning the brook, and leading to the farm- 
house known as Tinkin's Wood, close beside 
Castell Carreg. 

Morgan talked much of his escape after the 
battle of St. Fagan's, and of his doings whilst 
abroad, and time seemed to fly, so pleasant was 
the conversation. The men lingered on the 
brido-e until nio-htfall, and then Roo^er was loth 
to leave the wanderer. 

" Come up with me to the house a bit," said 
Morgan. " 'Tis early yet." 

Cyrir s Return 43 

" Well, to be sure," said Eoger, " I think I will. 
It can't be long after six, by the light." 

At Tinkin's Wood, Roger was warmly welcomed. 
The inmates were hospitable people, and soon 
Powell the elder, Moro^an Button, and Eos^er 
Meyrick were regaling themselves with cakes 
and cwTiv da (beer). 

In the midst of their rejoicing, loud knocking 
was heard at the front door. 

A stranger begged permission to rest awhile, 
for the night was dark, and he had come a long 

" Come in, come in," said John Powell, throw- 
ing the front door widely open. 

In strode a tall young man dressed in the 
fashion of the period. 

'* I have tethered my horse to a tree in yonder 
yard," said the strange visitor. 

John Powell directed his men to see to the 
animal, and led the way to the kitchen. 

Roger Meyrick could scarcely believe his own 
eyes, for there, erect as ever, stood his youngest 
son, Cyril ! 

" My son ! my son ! " exclaimed Roger. " My 
son returned from exile ! " 

Cyril warmly returned his father's embraces, 
and his friends' hearty greetings. Then they all 
sat down and talked, and quaffed large tankards 
filled with foaming nut-brown ale. Story after 

44 Roger Mey rick's Ride 

story was told, and the night was growing. 
Morgan Button quafFed the foaming ale and 
related his experiences abroad. Cyril Meyrick 
also heartily quafFed the ale, and talked much 
about his adventures, while John Powell and 
Roger Meyrick listened long and earnestly. 

The hours flew like fleet-winged birds before 
a hurricane. It was eleven o'clock, and Roger 
said he must o-o, ])ut Moro^an Button and Cyril 
Meyrick urged him to remain. 

" If you'll stay ai] other hour," said Cyril, 
" you shall have my horse. I'll stay here, and you 
can go home and prepare mother for my coming." 

What a kind and thoughtful son ! Roger, 
mounted on a swift horse, would be home in 
" no time." It mattered little if he remained 
anotlier hour. Ao^ain and ao^ain were the tankards 
replenished with the foaming nut-brown ale of 

It was midniglit ! Still one more story, then 
Roo-er must 2:0. 

It was an hour later when he mounted Cyril's 
horse, and had the reins put in his hands by his 
long-exiled son. The knowledge was too good 
to be true. 

How the kind wife at home would rejoice, 
" for this my son that was lost is found again." 

"Cyril, my bo}^, what is the horse's name?" 
asked Roger Meyrick. 

Firefly s Race 45 

"Firefly," replied Cyril. ''He's fleet-footed 
but quite safe." 

Then Cyril lighted the small saddle lantern 
which he always used when riding in the dark. 

'' Good-nio-ht," said Eoo^er. 

" Good-night/' responded the other men. 

Down through the darkness and the narrow 
lane leadincr to the road went Eooer. He was 
careful just there, for the lane was rough, and 
the horse was strange to those parts. 

Presently he reached the road leading from 
St. Nicholas towards Duffryn. Li flrst the 
horse went almost too slowly, but once on the 
good road, it went at a better speed. By-and- 
by it quickened its pace, and when Roger turned 
into the road leading from St. Lythan's, Fire- 
fly was going positively fast. 

" It's a oood horse," remarked Roger, strokino- 
its head. 

Soon afterwards he thought the horse went 
a little — just a little too fast. Firefly struck 
its hoof sharply upon the rocky road. 

That was enouoh ! 

Firefly started at a race-horse speed, and the 
hands of the rider could not check him. 

On, on went the horse and the rider, as though 
to win a wager. 

Roger Meyrick used every efi'ort to restrain 
Cyril's horse, but failed. 

46 Roger Mey ricks Ride 

Although the night was dark, and the roads 
strange to the horse, the animal raced until 
Roger Meyrick felt as though he were being 
carried off in a whirlwind. 

North cliffe was passed, Sutton was reached, 
still on, on, through the darkness and the night 
went Firefly. 

Up hill, down dale, clattering through villages 
silent as the grave ; bounding over brooks ; 
dashing past lonely churchyards where the dead 
slept oblivious of everything ; aud surmounting 
every obstacle. Firefly raced as if lives were at 
stake. Roger's brain whirled. He was almost 
too giddy to wonder how and where the race 
would end. What a terrible ride ! He could 
never forget it — never ! He longed for the first 
light of dawn to reveal where they were. 

At last it came. A rift appeared in the grey 
November clouds, and Roo-er had sufficient liorht 
to see that they were on the Golden Mile, near 
Bridgend, and many miles away from home. 

Firefly slackened its pace for a moment, 
duriug which time Roger Meyrick was able to 
turn the horse's head. But the next minute the 
animal was careering as madly as ever. 

"The animal is surely bewitched," muttered 
Roger, as he heard the people in the village 
shouting, " A runaway ! a runaway ! " 

The race was fearful, the noise of the people 

Caste II Cai^reg 47 

along the thoroiiglifaie became deafening. Clatter, 
clatter, went the horse's hoofs upon the road. 
Eattle and whiz went the whirlwind around 
Koger's ears, as the " bewitched horse" raced 
along. Suddenly the cock crew, and the horse 

Roger Meyrick rubbed his eyes. He found 
himself in Castell Carreg ! 

The "bewitched horse" was the fallen cromlech 
on which he was seated. The ride was merely a 
dream engendered by copious draughts of the 
Welshman's beloved civrw da. 

Roger Meyrick went home a sorrowful but 
wiser man, and when he told his wife the story 
of the Firefly race, she said, " That will teach 
thee a lesson to come home straiorht instead of 
going to sleep in Castell Carreg ! " 

A year later the exiled son returned home, 
but Morgan Button's fate remained a mystery. 

Early in the last century it was a folk-remark 
in that neighbourhood, when a man went to 
market, to warn him to " Take care thee dost 
not go for a ride round Castell Carreg on thy 
way home." 

''Zm tbe Da? of 3ut)cjment" 


ELYN AP MADOC, a priuce of Merio- 
neth, had been readiug the Triads, and 
afterwards pondered deeply upon the 
one in which it is recorded : — • 

" The three Blessed Astronomers of the Island 
of Britain — Idris, the Great ; Gwydion, son of 
Don ; and Gwyn, son of Nudd — so great was 
their kuowledo-e of the stars, and of their natures 
and influences, that they could foretell whatever 
any one might wish to know till the day of 

What attracted his attention most, was that 
*' they could foretell whatever any one might 
wish to know till the day of judgment. ^^ 

At the same time, Belyn by no means wished 
to know future events so far as the day of judg- 
ment. In truth that was, he thought, going a 
little too far ; but his ambition was to know 

Belyn ap Madoc 49 

if ever he would become a great man, a " leader 
of men," like the renowned Glendower. Then 
he suddenly remembered the old story, wherein 
it w\as stated that whoever slept for one night 
in the Chair of Idris would, as people said, " go 
mad," or awaken gifted with inspiration — some 
said poetical, others said astrological, while some 
declared it w\is a little of each, seeing that poets, 
seers, and madmen are closely allied. 

Whatever the ins|)iration w\as, Belyn coveted 
it, and set about the right way of obtaining, as 
he thought, a *' peep into the future." 

Belyn, taking sufficient provisions to sustain 
himself during his pilgrimage, started in ample 
time to reach the summit of Cader-Idris early in 
the afternoon. Very beautiful, though toilsome, 
w^as the route upward from Dolgelly ; but, 
though the scenery was grand and impressive, 
few people in those troublous times heeded the 
beauties of nature. Grim chasms, beetling crags, 
and towering rocks overhanging solitary ravines, 
or lookin^T downward over lono- stretches of rich 
pastures and tliymy uplands where the heather 
was not yet in blossom, and the slopes were 
strewn with fading petals of the golden gorse — 
had little charm for the rough and uncultured 
mountaineers of that period, or for the men who 
were ready to take up arms with or against 
Owen Glendower. 


50 " Till the Day of Judgment " 

Belyn, after many pauses to rest on the 
iip\Yard way, gained the summit, and for a short 
interval stood to look down upon the vast pano- 
rama below. 

It was a grand and impressive scene. Amid 
warm mists and heated vapours the July sun 
crept stealthily, and ahuost thief-like, behind the 
western mountains, as though his golden orb 
was being watched and his precious darts had 
a price set upon them. 

Belyn was dazzled by the sight, as he gazed 
and gazed, untd the great sun sank below the 
peaks of the west. For him the western dis- 
tance held no charms beyond the freedom of the 
sea, so like his own restless heart, and the 
grandeur of the wild coast, so like his own wild 
and uncurbed nature. The north was his home, 
and his soul cIuuq: to that with all the ardour of 
a Welshman. But the south, down there about 
and beyond the Berwyn mountains, held a 
wonderful charm for him, for there at present 
the great and renowned Owen Glendower con- 
gregated his followers. 

As the last rays of the setting sun blazed 
above the purple mountains, and the last shafts 
of golden light glanced like lances between the 
sharp peaks and splinty spires of the west, 
Belyn moved towards the Chair, at the foot of 
which he took a seat. 

Watching the Stars 5 1 

Not far above him eagles poised on their 
wings, ready to descend in a "fell swoop" into 
the valleys below, and on the crags around him 
vultures couoTes^ated as if in solemn conclave, 
while, lower down, kestrel and kite wheeled 
wildly in the evening air. 

Far, far below, lake and river and stream 
looked like orbs and ribbons of silver in emerald 
settings, while over all the tardy twilight threw 
a veil of pale and delicate opal and purple tints. 
Soon the light, circling clouds, like masters of 
magic, wove spells around the great mountains, 
and then Belyn felt himself altogether cut out 
from the lower world. 

Soon afterwards, nerving himself for the occa- 
sion, Belyn took his seat in wdiat is called the 
'' Chair." 

Night approached, and while dark clouds 
circled below the peak, above, in the clear 
purple sky, the stars came out and sparkled like 
jewels. And then Belyn thought within himself, 
No wonder that Idris GawT (Great) had come 
there in dateless days far above the world to 
watch the stars. Then there came to his mind 
once more the enthralling words of the ancient 
Triads — " Idris the Great ; Gwydion, son of 
Don ; and Gwyn, son of Nudd. So great was 
their knowledge of the stars, and of their natures 
and influences, that they could foretell whatever 

52 '' Till the Day of Judgment " 

any one might wish to know till the day of 

" So far," he whispered under his breath, for 
the very thought overpowered him with awe. 
" So far," he repeated, as a shudder passed 
through his frame and the night wind j^layed 
around his fevered brow, and cooled his heated 
brain that throbbed with a wild unrest. 

At last, when the first sense and symptoms of 
drowsiness began to oppress him, he tried to 
ward them ofi". For, in truth, although he came 
up there to get the magic sleep, — ah ! now it 
had come to the rub, he feared the nameless 
horror of— madness ! 

What if he should go mad — yes, mad, and 
die out there on the heights alone, and far from 
kith and kin ; or worse still, become a wild and 
sense-refc wanderer among the mountains, or a 
time-driven and brain-consumed skeleton, to 
descend like an evil spirit among his people, 
and prove himself to be a living example of one 
who had dared more than a mortal should ? 

No ; he would not sleep in the Chair of Idris. 
He would remain awake, and descend from the 
great and gloomy peak as soon as the day-dawn 

Suddenly, and without warning, he found 
himself in utter darkness. Oh, the horror of it ! 
He stretched forth his hands as if to grasp> some 

In the Chair of Idris 53 

friendly rock or ledge, but in vain. What was 
worse, it was a thick darkness, in which he 
gasped for breath. He thought be must soon 
be suffocated. 

One momeut he shivered with the cold until 
his teeth chattered ; the next he was burninof 
with fever heat, until his pulse throbbed as 
though ready to burst with liquid fire. 

Alas ! that he ever was so foolish as to veuture 
to the Chair of Idris, and, after all, be unable to 
sleep in it. 

Surely they were mad who had said, that " he 
who slej^t for one night in the Chair of Idris 
would awaken gifted with poetical or astro- 
logical inspiration," when there was no sleep to 
be had in the hated spot. 

Presently to his great relief the darkness seemed 
to decrease, and he hailed a faint grey glimmer- 
ing light, as one who, clinging to a shattered 
spar on mid-ocean, greets a distant sail. 

Belyn was almost frantic with delight. 

The grey light developing revealed gigantic 
forms, and Belyn began to think of Idris the 
Great, of Gwydion the son of Don, of Gwyn the 
son of Nudd, and last, but not least, of the Brenin 
Llwyd the Grey King, who, they said, seated 
himself among the mountain peaks and dis- 
covered the secrets of the stars. 

Belyn then heard the sound as of uncurbed 

54 " Till the Day of Judgment'' 

floods let loose, and the rushiug of waters, and 
tlie noise of many conflicting winds. He re- 
membered he truly was near the " fountain of 
the waters, and the cradle of the winds." 

Out of what he thought to be the dim morning 
twilight, a voice came, and this is what it said : 
" When thou hast secrets to keep, dost thou 
know where to keep them ? " 

Another voice answered in hollow tones, " No." 

" Trust them to the depths of the ocean ; trust 
them to the rocky fastnesses of the mountains ; 
trust them to the lone star distance, but not to 
(^fellow-mortal ! " 

Belyn sighed. It was a relief, and yet not 
quite a pleasure, to hear these strange and un- 
earthly voices. 

" Hast thou ambition ? " again questioned the 
greater voice. 

" Ay ! ay ! " responded the lesser voice. 

'•' Place it on the flower of the field, and it will 
wither ; plant it in the furrows with the grain, 
and it will be blighted ; set it in the sweet aff'ec- 
tions of thy heart, and it will turn to wormwood 
and gall ; let it follow the warrior, and it will 
end in conflict, in death, in dust ! " 

Then another voice chaunted : 

" Few win renown ! 
The monarch's crown 
Is worn in pain ! 

A Mysterious Voice 55 

The warrior's strength 
Is spent at length, 

In vain, in vain ! " 

Belyn almost groaned. His ambitiou was to 
follow Glcndower, and, like him, to become a 
leader of men — a migiity warrior — an everlast- 
\\\^X world-name. 

One of the mysterious people appeared to 
divine his thoughts, for, after a pause, the greater 
voice cried: "Beware, rash youth, beware of 
warfare, of battle, of woe, while yet no thread of 
silver is seen in thy dark curling hair. AVe know 
thy wishes. They are to go forth to battle — to 
earn a miMitv name, and to come home victo- 
rious and triumphant. Be not rash. Many will 
go forth and few will return. Go home, and 
try not to learn the secrets of the stars. The 
greatest inspiration is to do good to thy neigh- 
bours as to thyself, to be true to thyself and 
thus be true to all men— to help the helpless, 
to comfort the sorrowful, to give food to the 
hungry, and to do well in the sphere of life in 
which thou wast born." 

Then the voice ceased, the gigantic figures 
slowly vanished with the morning mists, and 
the sun was shining when Belyn aroused him- 
self. He was stiff and sore after the night spent 
in the Chair of Idris, and he began to wonder 
that during the unearthly watch, or sleep, or 

56 " Till the Day of Judgment'' 

dream, or whatever it was, he had not truly 
^' gone mad." As for inspiration, he was quite 
sure he had received sufficient never again to 
venture upon such a foolish and daring ex- 

Slowly, but in a thankful spirit, he descended 

"Where hast thou been?" asked the few 
wayfarers who met him on the downward 

" Up the mountain-side," said Belyn. 

'* He's been say in' his prayers," said some jeer- 
ins^ fellows lower down. 

Yet Belyn left them alone. 

''Hast been amono; the eas^les ? " asked a 
neighbour nearer home. 

Belyn remained silent. At length he ap- 
proached home, and by this time the twilight 
began to descend slowly upon the earth. He 
paused to look back, and upw^ards towards 
Cader-Idris, and it seemed to him as though the 
grey and gigantic figures once more stood there 
and gazed kindly downward. Distance softened 
their outlines, and, instead of being objects of 
terror, they appeared to be stretching forth 
their arms as if breathing a benediction upon 
all below. 

When he reached his father s partially ruined 
stronghold beyond Dolgelly, sad thoughts once 

Sonnds of Revelry 57 

more oppressed him, for the home, which liad 
been a noble fortress in the days of Edward 
the First, bore many traces of stern resistance 
and pitiful defeat ; and Belyn wondered after all, 
if it were not better to live in peace, and let the 
chances of war to the brave, but wild warriors of 

Musiug in this manner, he paused where the 
dark portcullis threw its shelteriog shadow^s 
around him, and night wandered soberly into 
the deserted courtyard. 

Suddenly he heard sounds of revelry in the 
banqueting-hall, and the w^ords of Owain Cy- 
veiliog, the poet-prince of Powys, rang in his 
ears : — 

"Fill thou the horn, for it is my delight in 
the place where the defenders of our country 
drink mead, and give it to Sclyt the Fearless, 
the defence of Gw^^gyr. Woe to the wretch 
who offends him, eagle-hearted hero, and to the 
son of Madoc, the famous and generous Tudwr, 
like a wolf when he seizes his prey, is his assault 
on the onset. Two heroes, who were sage in 
their councils but active in the field, the tw^o 
sons of Ynyr, who on the day of battle were 
ready for the attack, heedless of danger, famous 
for their exploits. Their assault was like that 
of strong lions, and they pierced their enemies 
like brave warriors ; thev were lords of tbe 

58 '' Till the Day of Judgment'' 

battle, and rushed foremost with their crimsou 
lances ; the weight of their attack was not to be 
withstood. Their shields were broken asunder 
with much force, as the high-sounding wind on 
the beach of the oreen sea, and the encroachiDS^ 
of the furious waves on the coast of Talgarth. 
Fill, cupbearer, as thou regardest thy life . . . 
the Hirlais driiikiug lioru, . . . and bring it to 
Tudwr, the Eagle of Battles ; . . . give it in the 
hand of Moreiddig, encourager of songs. . . ." 

Belyn marvelled as to the meaning of all this 
noise and revelry, the sound of the harp, the 
voice of GrufFydd, the family harpist, and the 
wild and frequent bursts of applause. In a 
pause of the song he went onward, and, wishful 
to remain unseen, sought the shadows where, 
like an eavesdropper, he lingered beside the 
least -used and garden entrance of the great 

Once more GrufFydd swept his fingers along 
the harp-chords, and resumed his song : — ^'Pour, 
cupbearer, from a silver vessel, an honourable 
badge of distinction. On the great plains of 
Gwestine I have seen a miracle, to stop the 
impetuosity of Gronwy was more than a task 
for a hundred men. . . . They met their enemies 
in the conflict, and their chieftain was consumed 
by fire near the surges of the sea. . . . Pour the 
horn to the warriors, Owain's noble heroes, who 

Gruff ydd the Harpist 59 

were equally active and brave. They assembled 
in that renowned pLace where the shining steel 
glittered ; . . . hear ye, by drinking mead, how 
the lord of Cattraeth went with his warriors in 
defence of his just cause, the guards of Mynyd- 
dawe, about their distinguished chief. . . . Pour 
out, cupbearer, sweet and well-drained mead 
. . . from the horns of wild oxen covered with 
gold, for the honour and the reward of the souls 
of those departed heroes. ..." 

Then there was another pause, more like a 
sacred and solemn hush than anything else, in 
which only the sounds of the swords as they 
were being sheathed could be heard., after which 
the tune was changed. Instead of wild martial 
music, Gruffydd played a soft and subdued in- 
terlude in a minor key, which seemed to soothe 
the warlike spirits of all present. A moment 
later, the aged and snowy-haired hnrpist recom- 
menced sinojinof : — " Of the numerous cares that 
surround princes no one is conscious here but 
God and myself. The man who neither gives 
nor takes quarter, and cannot be forced by his 
enemies to abide to his word, Daniel the valiant 
and beautiful. Oh, cupbearer, great is the task 
to entreat him ; his men will not cease dealing 
death around him until he is mollified. Cup- 
bearer, our shares of mead are to be given us 
equally before the bright shining tapers . . . 

6o " Till the Day of Judgment 

Cupbearer, slight not my commauds. May we 
all be admitted into Paradise by the King of 
Kings ! " 

Song ceased, and, lookiiig through the door- 
way, Belyn saw that the warriors' lances had 
been laid aside, swords were in their scabbards, 
and gold- and silver-bordered shields were heaped 
together in a corner of the hall. He heard his 
father Madoc calling, " My son — where is Belyn, 
my son — why tarries he so long — we wait his 
coming, as the thirsty flowers wait the ap- 
proach of the life-giving dews, or the refreshing 
rain ! " ' 

It was enouoii for the wanderer, who rnshed 
forward, and immediately found himself locked 
closely in his father's arms. 

When the mutual greetings were over, Madoc, 
whispering a word to the stern warrior sitting 
beside him, placed his son's hand in his. 

" For the sword and the honour of Wales ! " 
shouted Madoc, and all the warriors united in 
one wild outburst of applause. 

Belyn looked bewildered. 

"My son — my only son," exclaimed Madoc. 
" I proudly give thy hand, and, if need be, thy 
life, into the keeping of our noble leader — Owen 
Glendower ! " 

Belyn dared scarcely glance upw^ard. 

So much for his dreams of peace ! 

Under Owen Glendower 6i 

UiJ asked, he was placed — and by his own 
father — ^in the hands of Owen Glendower, whose 
deeds he so recently wished to emulate. 

After some formalities, he found himself 
pledged to accompany wherever he went, and to 
defend the leader of the ofreat rebellion ao^aiust 
the English king, Henry the Fourth. 

When Belyn took his seat beside his father, 
the words of the mysterious speaker rang in his 
ears : " Many will go forth, and few will return." 

He was not a coward, but his new dreams of 
peace were dispelled, not by his own wish, but 
by his father's ali-poweifiil will. Then he 
thought of the grim monitor who said, "Do 
well in the sphere of life in which thou wast 
born," and, taking up the broken threads of his 
hopes, he made a resolution to try and do his 
best, even in taking up arms under the direction 
of Owen Glendower. 

Fiercely the conflict raged. Wild yells and 
frenzied shouts of the living, and the sighs and 
groans of the wounded and dying, mingled with 
the ringing clash of arms, made day discordant, 
and, as evening approached, they increased 
rather than diminished. 

Only the sea was at peace. 

Scarcely a ripple marred the serene surface of 
Cardigan Bay, and the wavelets seemed almost 

62 " Till the Day of Judgment'' 

too lazy to roll along the sands, or to glide in 
and out among the rocks under Harlech. 

On sea and land, the red sun shed a lurid 
glow that deepened towards the setting, and 
illuminated the distant peaks with its beacon 

Darkly in the crimson sunset, the serried hosts 
fought and wavered, each pause being only the 
signal for still more desperate attacks. 

Here and there, on the fringes of the field, 
cowled monks and solemn friars waited the re- 
sult of the warfare — waited ready to administer 
reviving cordials and soothing remedies to the 
wounded and the dying. 

Here and there, hovering around the moun- 
tains, fierce eagles and hungry vultures waited, 
ready to descend for prey, while hoarse-voiced 
ravens croaked in resj^onse to hooded crows that 
stalked the lonely shore while waiting for car- 


In the front of the fray, Owen Glendower 
urged his men to unceasing action, while the 
opposing hosts fought and faltered, then rallied 
and wavered weakly before the overwhelming 
force of the enemy. 

On, on pressed Glendower and his men, as 
they scaled the heights and looked down on 
their comrades. 

Suddenly the red sun seemed with renewed 

HarlecJi Castle 63 

streDgth to glare upon the terrible scene, and, as 
a vivid flash of sunset light shot across the field, 
a fierce, ringing cry rent the air, and the war- 
riors on the heights signalled victoriously to 
their comrades, who rushed forward and upward 
in ecstasy. 

The vanquished forces wavered for a moment, 
then rallied, and made one supreme efi'ort on- 
ward, but it was too late. They were crushed 
back by superior and overwhelming numbers, 
and fell lifeless on the field. 

Harlech was taken, and Owen Glendower held 
the castle. 

That night, when the slender crescent of the 
new moon pierced the dark blue sky, and the 
star of strength shone steadily above Harlech 
Castle, and the star of love gleamed peacefully 
over the calm waters of Cardigan Bay, Belyn 
the son of Madoc lay wounded among his com- 
rades. Two years had passed since his father 
gave him to Glendower and warfare, and there 
was not a braver soldier in the service of rebel- 
lion. He had fought in several great battles, 
yet, in this — which they only regarded as a 
skirmish — he was wounded, and as he thought — 
"unto death." 

He found himself, with others, amonof some 
mounds close under the castle, just where the 
grass was thickest, and the shcadows were darkest 

64 " Till the Day of Judgment " 

Belyn felt as tliougli he had been in that posi- 
tion for nights instead of about two hours, when 
a voice aroused him with — " If thou wouldst have 
comfort and shelter, follow me." 

*' I cannot," he murmured wearily. " My 
wounds are great and will not permit me to 

Whereupon the stranger said, " I will lift 
thee ; " and forthwith Belyn found himself 
raised in the great arms of one who appeared 
to have Herculean strength. 

It was but a short way across the fields to 
carry the living burden, and the stranger soon 
deposited him in the comfortable and spacious 
kitchen of an ancient farmhouse. 

Belyn was surprised at his good fortune, but 
his wounds were so great, and his strenofth so 
little, that he could not question uor make 
comment of any kind. 

In a few days those that remained of the 
vanquished left the neighbourhood, and Glen- 
dower's men held the castle while their leader 
pressed onward. 

When all was quiet again, and the wounded 
had either recovered or died on the field, and 
Belyn was able to sit up, he found that he was 
in the house of an old friend whom he had not 
seen since his childhood. 

Gwilym ap Howel had been his father's firmest 

G wily 112 ap Howel 65 

friend in days gone by, and had left Dolgelly 
for Anglesea to inherit estates. 

''Thy father would little look for me here," 
said Gwilym sorrowfully. '' Fallen fortunes and 
loss have brought me to this place, where I 
would fain live during the remainder of my 
days in peace, surrounded by my good wife 
and children. Mine has been a life of trouble 
and foolish expenditure of time in fighting, and 
all to no purpose, save that of diminishing my 

At that moment a merry-eyed maiden entered 
the room, and, tripping gaily up to her father, 
asked when the stranger would be able to join 
them ''at meals." 

Without answering her,* Gwilym said, "This 
is my little daughter Elined. k& soon as thou 
art able to quit thy couch, I will give thee into 
her care. She is as good a nurse of those that 
are on a fair way to recovery, as her mother is 
to those who are wounded or in dangerous 

Thus it proved. 

When Belyn was able to walk a little, who 
should lead him but Elined, and by and by it 
came to pass that the two became inseparable 

Hours ran into days, and days merged into 
weeks, still Belyn remained there. Love and 

66 " Till the Day of JudgDient'' 

peace went hand in hand, while rebelliou, and 
the sound thereof, vanished from the shores of 
Cardigan Bay. 

But the longest day has its end, and the time 
came when Belyn, the son of Madoc, must go 
from under Grwilym ap Howel's kindly roof. 

When the morning for the young man's 
departure came, shadows lurked around Elined's 
dark eyes, her red lips drooped unusually down- 
ward, and instead of her sprightly manner, her 
movements flao-ofed. 

Noticing this, Gwilym tenderly said, "We are 
all sorry to see thee going. But come again. 
Thou wilt always be well received." 

Belyn saluted his host and hostess and. their 
family in the fashion of those days, and with a 
suitable escort went homeward. 

For many days afterwards, Elined drooped 
like a floAver bereft of sunshine, and then her 
parents knew that her heart had gone with 
Belyn the son of Madoc. 

In the stronghold of Madoc there was great 
rejoicing at the only son's return, and when the 
feasts were over the father said, " Thou shalt go 
no more in the train of the great Glen dower, 
but take to thyself a wife, and remain here in 

Then the truth came out that the world held 
but one woman for him, and when the son of 

Belyn and Elijied 

]\Iadoc named her, Lis kinsiuan said, ''It is Ijiit 
right that Belyn — from Beli, the sun — shoul'] 
wed Elined, Luned, or Lunet — the moon/" 

Belyn, accompanied by a brilliant retiuue, 
soon returned to Harlech, and anked Gw;]yijj 
ap Howel for his daughter's hand, at liie same 
time adding mirthfully, he knew he jjad '"'al- 
ready obtained her heart/' 

When Belyn returned jjorne witlj Elined Ijis 
bride, few wondered she lia/l charmed liim, for 
she was " passing fair/*' 

In the future Belyn had every reas^^n to be 
tliankful tljat Ids father "gave Jjirn to G^eri- 
dower," for thereby he oljtained a good and 
beautiful wife. 

Belyn never again trouljled hiuiself a.bout tije 
Triad that says — "So great was their hnow- 
ledge of the stars, and of their natures and 
influences, that they couhl fbretell whatever 
any one might wish to know fAll the day of 
judgrn/mty But ever to liis dyiijg jjonr lie 
remembered that ni^dit in the Chair of Idris. 

^bc IRaneom of Sir fl^arrv^ StraMino 

OWN to the wave- worn stretches of 
rocks under the cliffs and crags of 
Tresilian and St. Donats, the laver- 
gatherers go when the tide is high, and, as the 
waters recede from the long ledges, the women 
beo:in workiiio:. 

Brown, and glossy, and beautiful are the long 
leaves of the sea-liverwort, called by the Welsh 
country-folk laver, which, when cooked, is known 
as laver-bread. 

In the glorious hours of April, May, and June 
the laver-gatherers are always very busy, linger- 
ing among the rocks and smooth ledges where 
the liverwort spreads its leaves, and stretches 
them out and down into the clear sea-pools. 

It is the custom of the women to fill laro^e 
baskets with liverw^ort, and then bring their 
burdens shoreward, where, in deep pools, they 
wash and free the laver from all traces of sand. 


Dymveii s Bow of Destiny 69 

After that, the toilers rest awhile on the 
shore auci in the caves before proceeding home- 

Close beside Tresilian is a lofty, long, and 
spacious caverD, which can only be entered when 
the tide is out. The inhabitants of the neirii- 
bourhood call it Reynold's Cave, wdiich is sup- 
posed to be a corruption of Reynard's or Fox's 
Cave. It faces the sea, and its most remark- 
able feature is a natural arch which spans the 
cave a little below the general roof. Even in 
the present day, it is the custom for visitors to 
try their luck in throwing pebbles over the 
arch, so as to fall on the opposite side, but many 
people fail to do so owing to the great height 
of the cavern. The number of unavailing efforts 
— after preliminary practice — made before the 
arch is surmounted denotes the period of years 
that must intervene before the person throwing 
the pebbles will be married, or, if married, be 
released by death to make another choice. 

This cavern was known to the ancient Britons 
as Dynwen's Cave. Dynwen was the daughter 
of Brychan Brycheiniog, who flourished about 
A.D. 45. The British votaries of Love were 
supposed to supplicate Dynwen, who discoun- 
tenanced celibacy, and presided in the cave 
near Tresilian. The arch was formerly called 
Dynwen's Bow of Destiny, and through hoary 

70 The Ransom of Sir Harjy St7'adling 

centuries, many men and maidens have con- 
sulted the wave-resistingf oracle. Althous^h the 
arch appears to be very close to the roof, a 
boat could be rowed over it easily, and about 
half a century ago a man swam above ifc at 

Old and young, rich and poor alike, still try 
their luck in Dynwen's Cave. 

In this beautiful cave, when the June sun was 
shining with almost tropical fierceness, and the 
younger laver-gatherers washed the contents of 
their baskets in the fresh sea-pools, the older 
women rested awhile. 

Cool and pleasant were the shadows in Dyn- 
wen's Cave. Sea-swallows, sand-martins, and 
wagtails darted and flitted over the Bow of 
Destiny, or dipped down to drink of the rock- 
bound streamlets that slowly trickled from ledge 
to ledge, and fell with musical cadences to the 
pools below. 

Among the rocks, just where small pebbles 
and sand mingled on the floor of the cavern, 
sat the old women, surrounded by a group of 
merrv oirls, who, treatino^ laver-o^atherins: as 
holiday work, toiled a little and rested long. 

While the laver-gatherers either worked in the 
burning sunshine, where the yellow sands fringed 
the rocky ledges, or rested where shadows w^ere 
cool and refreshing, my thoughts w^ent back to 

St Donats Castle 71 

the clays of old, when other generations wandered 
along the shores. Like drifts of brown sea- 
la ver thrown up on the sands of Time, the old 
traditions and stories of this part of Glamorgan 
came to my mind, and deftly as the laver- 
gatherers worked among the shelving rocks, I 
penetrated the nooks and crannies of the past, 
and with the following results. 

In the memorials of the ancient Stradlino- 
family, who, in an unbroken line, from the time 
of the Norman Conquest until the year 1738, 
were owners of St. Donats Castle, Glamoro-an- 
shire, it is thus recorded — " Sir Harry Stradling, 
in the sixteenth year of the reign of King 
Edward the Fourth, journeyed like others of his 
ancestors to Jerusalem, where he was honoured 
with the order of the Knight of the Holy 
Sepulchre like his father, grandfather, and others. 
This Sir Harry died in the island of Cyprus on 
his return homewards, in the city of Famagusta, 
and was buried there." 

The family had an estate at Coombe Hawey 
in Somersetshire, where they occasioually lived, 
but their favourite residence was at St. Donats. 

St. Donats Castle is one of the most ancient 
in Wales. It is beautifully situated on the side 
of a lovely but narrow glen sloping to the Severn 
Sea. Cradled, as it were, among luxuriant trees, 
its mossy lawns descend in terrace after terrace 

72 The Ransom of Si 7" Harry Stj^adling 

down to the old sea-wall, where in former times 
the barracks stood. 

Before the ancient castle the calm sea glitters 
in the golden glow of summer, and the foam of 
the cold grey waves looks like driven snow when 
winter winds swell the waters, and lash them 
against the rocky barriers of the dangerous coast. 

On the west of the glen stand the remains 
of an ancient watch-tower, which was built by 
Sir Peter Stradling, " to give light to his galley 
at nights when the family returned from Coombe 
Hawey to St. Donats." 

Other authorities said that Sir Peter — from 
whom Sir Harry was sixth in descent — erected 
the tower and placed a light therein, " to decoy 
vessels to the dangerous rocks that extend along 
the coast for some miles east and w^est of St. 
Donats." "But," says an old writer, "this 
kind-hearted and charitable family were far 
indeed from entertaining any such intention. 
It is, however, said, that the light in the tower 
led some vessels astray, that were ultimately 
lost on the bordering rocks ; but so far were the 
Stradlings from plundering the cargoes of such 
wrecks that, instead, they preserved and pro- 
tected them to the utmost, for the rightful 
owners — affording, also, every succour to the 

In the days of Sir Harry Stradling, a notorious 

Colyn Dolphyn 


pirate, known as Colyn Dolphyn, a native of 
Brittany, scoured the coast, now making raids 
on the English side of the Bristol Channel, 
then crossing over to Wales and plundering the 
country there. 

According to the old chroniclers, Colyn Dolphyn 
was a tall, athletic, and mighty man, "like Saul 
in Israel." He ''towered head and shoulders" 
over the Welsh aiid Enojish alike. 


Colyn Dolphyn's name was a terror in South 
Wales. At the sound of it children crouched 
around their mothers, and stalwart men trembled, 
and even in the present century the name of the 
great pirate is a power in the home, for the 
Welsh mothers and nurses still say, " Hush ! 
Be good children, or Colyn Dolphyn will come 
ao-ain ! " 

In the reign of King Henry the Sixth, a 
strange beldame appeared in the neighbourhood 
of St. Donats. During the day she groped away 
to the shadows of gloomy glens, dark caverns, 
or deep dingles, but at night she came forth and 
wandered about. Her real name, the race from 
which she was descended, and the manner of her 
life or source of sustenance, were unknown to 
any mortal. Because of lier nocturnal habits, the 
peasants called her Mallt-y-Nos (Night Matilda, 
or Matilda of the Night). She worked magic 
and witchcraft, and it was said — thouf^h in fear 

74 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling 

and trembling — that she was Colyn Dolphyn's 
spy, and a minion of the arch-fiend himself. 

One evening, as Sir Harry Stradling, accom- 
panied by bis man Dewryn, went from the castle 
to the watch-tower, old Mallt-y-Nos crossed their 

" How now, beldame ! " exclaimed Sir Harry, 
throwing her some money. 

Leaning on her stafi", the old woman paused, 
looked down at the money, and muttered under 
her breath, " Thee 'It want a fortune of that kind 
soon." Then, j)icking up the coins, she hurried 
quickly under the trees towards the church and 

" Mallt-y-Nos muttered some words, but 1 did 
not hear them," remarked Sir Harry to Dewryn. 

The man repeated the words. 

" What can the hag mean ? " said Sir Harry. 

" That I know not ; but she means no good, 
w^e may be sure," said Dewryn. 

Sir Harry and his man strode on, and soon 
reached the watch-tower. 

Meanwhile, Mallt-y-Nos made her way to the 

Although shunned by all, turned away from 
the doors of rich and poor alike, the witch was 
received kindly by Lady Stradling, who bestowed 
food, clothing, and sometimes money upon the 

Lady Stradling 75 

It was whispered abroad, that the stately 
sister of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, 
and wife of Sir Harry Stradling, was supersti- 
tious, and fond of consultino- the witch, for 
sometimes Mallt-y-Nos was closeted alone with 
her ladyship when Sir Harry was away. 

" My respects to your ladyship," said Mallt-y- 
Nos, dropping a curtsey to Lady Stradliug at 
the door of the great hall. 

" Bid her come in," said Lady Stradling to 
one of the maids. 

The witch entered. As she did so, Elizabeth, 
Lady Stradling, devoutly crossing herself, said, 
"Pat food before her, and then send her in to 
my presence. I wish to consult her as to the 
properties of ground ivy." 

After having partaken of the very welcome 
refreshment, the witch was conducted to Lady 
Stradling's room, the door of wdiich was imme- 
diately closed. 

" Your ladyship looks troubled," said the 
witch, dropping a very low curtsey. 

" That I am," was the reply. 

" It behoves me not to ask questions of my 
lady, but I should like to know what ails you, 
madam ? " 

" Much," was the reply. " Sir Harry is going 
to Somersetshire, and it is my desire to prevent 

76 TJie Ransom of Sir Harry Siradling 

" Why so, my lady ? " 

"Because I like not the omen he had last night." 

" What was that, my lady ?" 

"Heliad a bad dream. In it he was 011 
a solitary island, w^here an angry sea rolled and 
a tempest raged. He said I was crying and 
wringing my hands, and, standing in a ship 
bevond the surf, I begofed the seamen to succour 
him, but they would not. I fear some harm 
will befall him." 

Mallt-y-Nos pondered awhile, then said, " That 
dream bodes no good." 

" I fear me not," said her ladyship, " and yet 
I know not what to do." 

" If Sir Harry will go, he will," said Mallt-y- 
Nos ; " for he's a man of great determination." 

" I know^ — I know," said Lady Stradling, im- 
patiently, as though she wished the witch could 
do something, or work magic to prevent Sir 
Harry's departure. 

Guessing this, Mallt-y-Nos said, " I can warn 
Dewryn this very night, and that I promise you, 
my lady." 

Then dropping a low curtsey, the witch went 
her way. 

That night when Dewryn crossed the park, 
Mallt-y-Nos accosted him. 

" Beware ! " she said, raising her thin and 
boney finger ; *' beware ! " 

Mallt-y-Nos yj 

" What danger now, liag ? " asked Dewryn, 
pausing to listen. 

" Beware of dangers and troubles on sea and 
land, and soon — soon ! " said Mallt-y-Nos. 

'^ Dangers, troubles, woe, and mischief, aro 
always the burden of thy croak ! " exclaimed 
Dewryn, striding away. 

'' Beware ! " shouted the hag after him. 

^^ Beware ! " cried the mocking echo. 

The next day Sir Harry Stradling and his 
men set sail for Somersetshire, wdiere the party 
intended remaining for some time. 

It was July when they went, and they pur- 
posed returning early in August. 

Tidings were received of their safe arrival in 
Somersetshire, and Lady Stradling's mind was 
at rest. 

Through July the clustering grapes ripened 
in the celebrated vineyards, and the deer 
browsed in the parks of St. Donats, where the 
monks and friars of neio;hbourincr monasteries 
and abbeys were at liberty to wander at will. 

Leland in his Itinerary writes : " In. the which 
space bytwixt the Castelle and the Severn is a 
Parke of Falow Dere. There is a nother Park 
of Kedde Deere more by Nor the West from tlie 
Castelle. Tiie Parkes booth and the Castelle 
long to Stradeling, a Gentilman of very fair 
Landes in that Countery." 

y^ The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling 

August came, aud with it the ripened fruits, 
and corn, and barley, and truly the Givlad ar 
Hdv — Land of Summer, as Glamorgan was called, 
looked radiant and beautiful. 

August waned, and the September moon arose 
like an orb of beaten gold iu the sapphire sky. 

Day after day Lady Stradling took her three 
children, Thomas the heir, Blanche, and the 
baby, to the terrace to watch and wait for the 
return of Sir Harry, but still he came not. 

In the evening of a glorious autumn day, a 
small sailed skiflf was seen approaching, and in 
a few minutes two of the crew landed. They 
hastened to the Castle, and asked for Lady 

The first question they put was, " Is Sir Harry 
Stradlinof come home ? " and were answered in 
the negative. 

" Then," said the elder man of the two, " some 
ill must have befallen him." 

" I fear me it must be so," said Lady Stradling, 
" though we have not had a storm." 

" See," said the other man, " these things 
were found by the captain of a schooner off 
Nash, and brought therefrom to Minehead." 

The articles were a light leathern package 
containing a valuable document belonging to 
Sir Harry, and the figurehead of St. Barhe, 
the Stradlins^ vessel. 

In the " Sea Szv allow'' 79 

Lady Stradling was stricken with grief as to 
the fate of her husband. 

The weather had been so calm and fair that 
the ship could not be wrecked, but its fate was 
a mystery. 

" P'rhaps it has foundered on the Nash," 
said the people, and forthwith a search party 
went to the dangerous sands, which can only be 
approached in calm weather, and when the tide 
is out. 

There they found many tokens of the St. Barhe. 

It was evident that Sir Harry and his crew 
had been wrecked on the Nash Sands. 

Meanwhile many weary months passed away, 
during which Sir Harry Stradling, his faithful 
man Dewryn, and the crew of the St. Barhe, 
were kept close prisoners by Colyn Dolpliyn, on 
board his barque the Sea Sivallow. 

The St. Barhe, on the homeward voyage, had 
been seized by the notorious pirate, and scuttled 
near the Nash Sands. 

In pain and sorrow, Sir Harry and his men 
were kept manacled in the Sea Swalloiv, wher- 
ever it sailed. Now the pirate barque, followed 
by other vessels belonging to Colyn Dolphyn, 
fleeted before the wind up-channel, past the 
Steep and Flat Holms, and on, higher up the 
Severn, then down again on the wind's wing, 

8o The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling 

only pausing to seize some unfortunate ship, or 
running into lonely parts of England and Wales, 
and re-embarking with spoils from numlDerless 
castles and abbeys, monasteries and farms. The 
captain and crew of the St, Barhe were dispersed 
among the notorious pirate's various vessels, so 
that there could be no chance of mutiny or the 
escape of Sir Harry. 

By-and-by, after one whole year of torture 
and privation for Sir Harry, it occurred to Colyn 
Dolphyn that more money miglit be made by 
releasing the owner of St. Donats than by keep- 
ing him. Thereupon he proposed that Sir Harry 
should find a ransom, but the sum named was so 
high that the prisoner knew his family w^ould be 
reduced to w\ant and beggary in order to pay it. 

For several months, even though suffering 
the pangs of hunger, tlie pains of torture, and 
the taunts of the coarse and rough sea-thieves 
surrounding him. Sir Harry refused to pay the 
ransom. Later on he begged Colyn Dolphyn to 
reduce the sum. This happened at a time when 
"trade w^as dull" with the great pirate, who 
then offered to take 2200 marks — ^just half the 
sum he at first demanded. A messenger was 
despatched to Lady Stradling and other members 
of the family, who, in order to raise the sum 
wanted, were compelled to sell part of the 
Stradling property. 

Watching for the " Sea- Thief 8 1 

According to Sir Harry's directions two ancieut 
manors in Oxfordshire, the manor of Tre-Gwilym, 
in the parish of Bassaleg, in Monmouthshire, 
together with the manor of Sutton, in Glamorgan- 
shire, were sold, and the money was sent from 
St. Donats to Colyn Dolphyn. 

Sir Harry, his man Dewryn, together with the 
captain and crew of the St. Barhe, were handed, 
ragged, penniless, and without foo'd or raiment, 
on a lonely part of the coast about ninety miles 
from St. Donats. Footsore and weary, the 
victims of the pirate's cruelty reached St. Donats 
Castle, where they were received with great 

Soon after his return home. Sir Harry Strad- 
ling placed arms in the ancient watch-tower, and 
men who, according to an old writer, had " to 
watch at night for the sea thief, Colyn Dolphyn, 
who too frequently cruised along the Severn Sea 
on ship-robbing intent." 

Many a weary watchman had waited in vain 
on both sides of the Severn Sea, for the English 
and Welsh alike longed to catch Colyn Dolphyn. 
But the old sea-rover was wary. He knew 
where schemes and traps were laid, and carefully 
avoided them. 

In the course of time Sir Harry thought of 
the old report concerning the building and 
purpose of the ancient watch-tower. Pacing up 

82 The Ra7iso7n of Sir Harry Stradling 

and down the terraces of St. Donats Castle, Sir 
Harry one day — when the white-capped waves 
hurried landw^ard, and the storm-wind howled 
through the grim caves on the rock-bound coast 
— looked across at the watch-tower. 

" Old Sir Peter kept a light in the tower," 
said Sir Harry to his faithful Dewryn, " and I 
think I will follow his example. If light fails to 
lure our old enemy, nothing will take him. See 
that a light is put there to-morrow night." 

A strong lantern was accordingly placed in 
the tower, and Dewryn took charge of it. Every 
morning he trimmed the lantern. Every night 
he lio^hted it. The beacon lidit could be seen 
far out at sea. 

Colyn Dolphyn saw it and swore. 

^^Ha, ha!" he cried. "Sir Peter's lamp 
re-lighted ! Well, in times gone by it was a 
welcome beacon to warn mariners off the wild 
Welsh coast. A beacon it shall be to me hence- 
forth. Good Sir Harry ! He thinks of his days 
with us, and the perils of the sea ! " 

November fogs glided ghostlike up the Severn 
Sea, enveloping the coasts of England and Wales. 
November's drizzling rain fell on land and sea 
alike. Through fog and rain the old sea-rover 
fearlessly sailed, for too well he knew the coast 
to venture into danger. 

December dawned, and with it at first came 

Good Sir Harrys Beacon ! 8 

sleet and beating hail, followed at the end of the 
month bj wild winds and blinding snow. The 
storm raged furiously. Snow fell thick and 
fast, filling the frozen sails of the Sea Swallow. 
Icicles clung to the mast. Icicles fell in long 
fringes from the figurehead of the pirate's barque. 
Colyn Dolphyn's sailors dashed the icicles from 
their long hair as it froze. 

The old sea-robber paced the deck, now 
shouting a command, then pausing to shake the 
snow from his shaggy beard and matted eye- 

'' We must put in to land ! " he yelled. 

"But where are we?" shouted the man at the 

" Ofi' the Tuscar," responded the pirate, in 
hoarse tones, as he peered through the increasing 

'' A light ! A beacon light ! " cried one of the 

Colyn Dolphyn gazed through the snow. 

'' Good Sir Harry's beacon ! " he shouted. 
"That will do. Now, make for Dunraven." 

On, on, the plaything of the tempest, the frolic 
of the waves, went the Sea Swallow. It was a 
terrific storm ! Now, creaking and groaning in 
the snow and surf; now thrust back by the 
force of the waves, then hurled forward by the 
relentless winds, the pirate's barque was wrested 

84 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling 

from the captain's power. On, like a sheeted 
ghost, the Sea Swallow, with sail and cordage 
riven, with frosted yard and spar, and with a 
half-frozen crew, was driven by the wind. 

One more leap across the dark and yawning 
wave chasm — one more dip down into the depths 
of whirling surf and hissing spray — one more 
struggle, then, groaning, creaking like a human 
creature, the Sea Swalloiv struck on tlie Nasli 

It was a widely scattered wreck. 

In the gloom of the wintry daybreak, 
through hissing spray and wind-blown surf, 
Colyn Dolphyn and his crew clung for dear life 
to drifting yard and spar, hoping thereby to 
reach the shore. Some of the crew were eu- 
gulphed in the yawning waves, and some, by 
dint of clinging to the frozen wreckage, were 
saved, and that on the third day before Christmas. 

Sir Peter's beacon light had done its work ! 
Sir Harry Stradling was revenged ! Dewryn, 
pacing the shore, looked keenly on. Malt-y- 
Nos, groping among the snow-covered crags 
and rocks, that on this coast have been hurled in 
wild confusion, alternately groaned and sighed. 

Sir Harry hurried to the shore. He had 
tidings of the wreck, and, ready to lend a helping 
hand to all " in peril on the sea," he was pre- 
pared for generous action. 


In Captivity 85 

Yet even he hoped the wrecked ship was the 
Sea Sivallow, and the lost included the old 
pirate and his crew. 

Foremost among those swimming from the 
wrecked ship to the shore, was one whose 
brawny arms and breast battled bravely with 
the angry waves, and at last succeeded in 
gaining a rock of safety. There, tall and erect, 
in the cold of winter and the snow, stood Colyn 
Dolphyn, with six of his crew. The old sea- 
robber gazed around and then shouted, " Where 
— where am I ? " 

For answer, in the growing daylight, he was 
surrounded by Sir Harry's men, and, together 
with the crew of the Sea Swallow, Colyn Dolphyn 
was made prisoner. 

The notorious pirate and his men were manacled 
and marched from the scene of the wreck to St. 

Nothing daunted by the disaster, Colyn 
Dolphyn, on the upward way, playfully promised 
to call his confederates from the sea to join him 
in Sir Harry's Christmas sports. He fully ex- 
pected that if he offered a good ransom, or the 
return of the sum paid for the release of Sir 
Harry, the owner of St. Donats would set him 

All the captives were taken to the Castle keep, 
and there secured to wait until the morrow^ 

86 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling 

when, accordiDg to the old chronicles, Colyn 
Dolphyn, without the aid of judge or jury, was 
sentenced to death. 

In solemn tones Dewryn said, " Colyn Dol- 
phyn ! we doom thee, by means of wind and 
twist, to writhe until thy soul and body part ! " 

It was Christmas Eve. Early in the afternoon 
the javelin men, aroused by a sudden trumpet 
blast, assembled in the court-yard of the Castle, 
and were then joined by a band of well-armed 
soldiers. Soon, as a search-party, they marched 
down through the glen to the shore, where, 
perhaps, some lurking ship waited to land others 
who would be ready to rescue Colyn Dolphyn. 
The men, however, returned with the tidings 
that all was clear. 

At ten o'clock that night, from each battle- 
ment, court, and mound, hundreds of flambeaux 

The guard turned out; the javelin men grimly 
surrounded Sir Harry, who, accompanied by 
friends, priests, monks, and friars, went in pro- 
cession to the Castle keep. 

Colyn Dolphyn and his crew were brought 
forth and led to the place of execution. On the 
right side of the notorious pirate, one of the 
Friars Minor urged him to repentance ; on the 
other side, a " White Monk " tried to soothe him 
by word and sign, and promise of pardon hereafter. 

The Pirates Invocation ^j 

Presently the dark and gloomy procession 
halted before the fatal oak where the pirate was 
to meet his doom. Then, according to the ancient 
chronicles, a strange scene was witnessed. 

The wTctched man, with a terrific orhare, 
appeared to gaze upon some fearful supernatural 
form seen only by him. They said he "held 
converse with the Fiend," and that he " invoked 
the 'Sire of Sin.'" 

AVhile crowds transfixed with horror listened, 
he delivered his invocation, which has thus been 
rendered in verse by Taliesin, the son of lolo 
Moro'anwo^ : — 

" Oh thou ! full well whom I have serv'd, 
From whose commands I never swerved ; 
To help thy faithful follower speed ! 
ISTor stand aloof in hour of need ! 
By years that bade remorse adieu I 
By deeds that ne'er repentance knew ! 
By murder'd infants' parting breath ! 
By pleading mothers dash'd to deatli ! 
By hands, through life in blood imbrued ! 
And by my soul ! with thee imbued ! 
Come to my aid ! avert this fate ! 
Our compact told a longer date. 
Thine am I ! pledg'd by deed and vow ! 
Supreme of Darkness ! nerve me now ! " 

Silence deep and profound followed the in- 
vocation. Dewryn's band of armed men 
pinioned Colyn Dolphyn, and soon the crowd 

SS TJie Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling 

a,round saw the old sea-pirate suspended by his 
neck from the ancient oak. 

Before he breathed his last a terrible tempest 
arose. In the words of Taliesin, the son of lolo 
Morgan wg : — 

"... Fierce the wild tornado grew ; 
Their maniac forks the light'nings fling, 
And demon hosts are on the wing ; 
The warring winds assail the deep ; 
The waves infuriate upwards leap ; 
The heetling cliffs, in frequent crash, 
Hurl downwards with impetuous dash ; 
Fierce thunderbolts the forests rend, 
And all the elements contend ! " 

While the thunder pealed and the lightning 
flashed across the midinght sky, and the crowd 
stood in terror before the awful gallows-tree 
wherefrom Colyn Dolphyn's body was suspended, 
a solitary figure quickly threaded its way to the 
scene of execution. 

It was Mallt-y-Nos. 

Under the heavy snow-encumbered branches 
of the ancient oaks, she waited until the curious 
crowd gladly and yet fearfully went homeward. 

Some marvelled that such a storm of thunder 
and lightning should occur in the winter ; some 
said it was because Colyn Dolphyn invoked the 
Fiend, who was not satisfied with the pirate's 
latest adventures ; some said it was because the 

Dead Man's Candle 89 

holy Eve of Christmas was desecrated by the 
execution of the sea-robber and his crew ; while 
others declared in sinister tones that it was the 
vengeance of Heaven expressed against Sir 
Harry Stradling for having despatched the pirate 
without the privilege of trial by judge and jury. 

When all was quiet — when the crowd had 
dispersed, and the dead bodies drooped listlessly 
in the frosty air, Mallt-y-Nos crept towards. the 
oak where Colyn Dolphyn hung. 

In the distance, the prowling fox yelped, the 
hounds howled dismally in their kennels, and 
down in the glen melancholy owls hooted to 
each other. 

Dewryn alone, unseen among the surrounding 
oaks, watched the witch in her progress. 

Afterwards he said she invoked the " Fiend," 
and that there, in the loneliness, darkness, and 
snow, she collected the materials necessary for 
preparing the gruesome " Dead Man's Candle." 

'' Then," said Dewryn, relating the story to 
his fellows in the Castle, " she muttered strange 
words, made strange signs, and uttered unearthly 
sounds. And I saw that she was joined by three 
witches of terrible aspect. They bound her hand 
and foot, and, amid the smell of sulphur and 
Hames of fire, she was wafted out of sight." 

From that night Mallt-y-Nos was never seen 
aofain. In the "Memoirs of the Stradlinos " it 

90 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling 

is recorded that for having executed Colyn 
Dolphyn without trial by jury, '' Sir Harry 
Stradling, it cannot well be devised why, was 
bitterly pursued at law by Henry the Sixth." 

Yet another story about this romantic and 
picturesque neighbourhood. 

The last of the Stradlino;3 to live in St. Donats 
was Sir Thomas Stradling, who was killed " in a 
duel" at Montpelier, in France, on September 27, 
1738, and was buried at St. Donats on March 

19, 1739. 

Much mystery and suspicions of foul play 
surrounded his death. Young Stradling went 
abroad witli his friend Tyrwhit, and they agreed 
in writing that, if any ill befell one of them, the 
survivor was to inherit the other's estates. 

Some said that the body conveyed from Mont- 
pelier to St. Donats, and there buried, was not 
the mortal frame of Thomas Stradling. Litiga- 
tion for more than fifty years followed the death 
of the last of the Stradlings. By that time 
Tyrwhit, the claimant, was dead, and the Castle 
was rented to a family named Thomas. 

In the early part of the present century, when 
May blossoms filled the land with beauty, and 
nature looked like a fair young bride going forth 
radiant and gladly to meet her groom, a strange 
thing happened. 

Lewis Thomas left St. Donats Castle in the 

The Solitary Coast 91 

afternoon for Tresilian. After spending some 
time there, lie decided to walk homeward along 
the shore instead of following the cliff line. 

The tide was far out, and there was no 
dano'er of beino- wave-locked. Durino^ that 
deliofhtful walk Lewis Thomas thouo;ht mucli 
and pleasantly of his son, who was "far out at 
sea." In this state of mind he wandered slowly 
along the lofty and inaccessible cliffs that 
towered above him. 

Far over the sea a soft golden glory lingered, 
and slowly merged into the purple haze of 
twilight that deepened almost imperceptibly. 
When Lewis Thomas was within twenty minutes' 
walk of the Castle, he thought he felt somebody 
tapping his shoulder. 

" It was only a fancy," he murmured, for 
on the solitary coast not a person could be 
seen. Only the sea-swallows darting to the 
cliff cavities, and the sea-gulls flying in their 
wake, were visible. 

Again he felt a tap upon his shoulder, and 
this time, turning round, he saw beside him a 
tall bearded man, dressed as a sailor. 

"What may you want?" asked Lewis Thomas 
accostiuo; the strano-er. 

"Tliis, only just this," said the man breatli- 
lessly. " I hurried after you as fast as I could 
to draw your attention to yonder cliff." 

92 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling 

" And what of that ? " asked Lewis Thomas. 

" Before three days have passed there will be 
a slight, a very slight landslip there. Now, I 
want you to promise me something." 

"And what may that be? I do not like 
making rash promises." 

" You shall see ; the land will slip and thereby 
lower the cliff." 

"Indeed!" exclaimed Lewis Thomas doubt- 

" When the land has slipped," said the 
stranger, "lose no time in making a stairway 
that shall lead upward from the shore to the 
fields beyond." 

"And why?" 

" Ask not," said the stranger, " but solemnly 
promise you will do as I bid." 

" I solemnly promise," said Lewis Thomas. 

" Then farewell. There's no time to spare — 
proceed wdth the work at once." 

Before Lewis Thomas could respond, the 
stranger vanished. 

Three days later the Castle servants reported 
a landslip on the very spot indicated by the 
stranger. Lewis Thomas went to see it. Yes ; 
there was the slip which considerably lowered 
the cliffs in that part. 

" This would be a good place for a way up 
from the sea, in case of shipwreck or being 

A Ship in Distress 93 

locked in," said Lewis Thomas, who forthwith 
directed his men to make the necessary pre- 
parations for a rougli stairway there. 

The work was completed, and the whole 
countryside sang the praises of Lewus Thomas 
and his work. 

Months passed. September gales raged — the 
Severn Sea waves rolled majestically, and their 
thunders could be heard far inland. Breaksea 
Point roared in response to Sker, and the 
breakers around the Tuscar Eock sent their sad 
wave-messages to the eddies that whirled around 
the treacherous sands of Nash. 

In the night of a rainy day, when the wind 
w^ent down, and a dangerous white fog en- 
veloped land and sea, a fog-horn was heard. 

''A ship in distress," said the Castle folk, 
some of whom went down to the shore as quickly 
as possible. But by that time the horn ceased, 
and the fog, increasing in density, prevented the 
people from seeing the position of the ship. 

" It has passed on safely," said one. 

'' Or struck somewhere," said another. 

Then the party returned to the Castle. Two 
hours passed. The Castle clock struck ten. 
Half an hour later the fog had lifted, and the 
stars were glittering in the September sky. 

About midnight loud knocking aroused the 
Castle people from their beds. 

94 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling 

''Who is it? What is the matter?" asked 
Lewis Thomas, opening the door. 

^' We're shipwrecked mariners," was the reply. 
" Pray let us in." 

" To be sure, to be sure," said kindly Lewis 
Thomas, throwing the door widely open, and 
thinking^ of his dear son " far out at sea." 

He lighted the candles, roused the servants, 
and ordered fire, clothing, and food for the 
dripping sailors. 

'' Don't you know me ? " said a bearded man, 
coming eagerly forward. 

'' No," said Lewis Thomas. 

" Not know me ! " exclaimed the man. 

Lewis Thomas looked closely at him again. 
" My son ! my son ! " he cried ; '' my only son, 
whom I thought was far out at sea." 

After the first joy of welcome bad passed, 
Lewis Thomas asked where they w^ere wrecked. 

"We would have been overwhelmed by the 
tide," said the sailor son, '' but I noticed in the 
half light a land-slip. We made for that, and 
there found a stair leading to the fields. The 
ship was wrecked, but by swimming after me 
towards the slip, the caj)tain and crew^ were all 

Lewis Thomas then told the story of the 
mysterious stranger and his command. '' And 
the stranger was no other than thou, my boy, 

Lewis Thomas s Stairs 95 

for now I see thou hast grown a beard," said 
Lewis Thomas, who rejoiced in having performed 
the promise, and so saved the life of bis son, 
then " far out at sea." 

From that day to this, a steep and rugged 
pathway, now worn with age and partially obli- 
terated, remains. 

Leading upward from the shelving cliflfs to 
and through a tangle where white violets, prim- 
roses, and blue bells grow in profusion, the path- 
way is lost among the elderberry bushes fringing 
the field beside St. Donats Castle. It is known 
as "Lewis Thomas's Stairs." 

?Cbe Sweet Singer of IDalle Cruets 


OFT and filmy mists, through which the 
moonbeams occasionally strayed like 
arrows of silver, filled the beautiful 
Valley of the Cross, and lightly shrouded the 
ruins of tbe celebrated Valle Crucis Abbey, which 
was founded by Owen Gwynedd, Prince of Wales, 
in 1 200. 

Through the light veil of the mist the hoary 
ruins loomed like a grim warden, surrounded by 
a staff of sentinels guarding the resting-place of 
the illustrious dead and the sacred secrets of the 

There, in solemn loneliness and grandeur, 
kings and princes have been laid to rest ; and 
beside them mitred abbots, cowled monks, and 
humble friars are sleeping their long last sleep. 

There, too, where the shadows fall kindly, and 


Solitary Travellers 97 

the moonbeams quiver gently, lolo Goch, the 
illustrious poet of Wales, has rested through the 
long ceuturies that have gone by since Owen 
Glendower lived at Sy earth, and the comet 
which appeared, auguring good fortune and 
success for the intrepid leader of Welsh insur- 

Slowly through the mist and the early morn- 
ing moonlight, two pedestrians w^ended their 
way through the silent valley, and paused occa- 
sionally to rest awhile, now on one of the stone 
stiles still so numerous in AVales, and ao-ain lean- 
ing against a gate to look back as far as they 
could see. They were tired already, having 
come a long distance, but consoled themselves 
by saying, " Two miles more and we shall be in 
Llangollen." There they were to join a friend 
who had offered them seats in his dog-cart, bound 
for a distant town. 

These solitary travellers were itinerant preach- 
ers, and like many of their brethren in the present 
day, they often had to walk far and sometimes 
fare badly. 

The name of the one was Kobert Owen, and 
the other was Eichard Ehys, both ministers of 
that large community known in Wales as Cal- 
vinistic Methodists. 

In their days men were obliged to be good 
walkers, for the century was young and coaches 

gS Sweet Singer of Valle Cruets Abbey 

were unknown in the remote parts of Wales. 
Sometimes the itinerant brotherhood had the 
loan of a mountain pony, but more frequently 
they had to walk. 

Eobert Owen and Eichard Ehys had already 
walked twenty miles when they reached the 
sacred Valley of the Cross. During their journey 
they had whiled away the time by discussing the 
views of the day, the state of religion, the spread 
of infidelity, and lastly, they related anecdotes 
and stories of fellow-ministers. 

A great number of the itinerant preachers of 
Wales are born story-mongers. All the good 
and bad stories of the Principality are included 
in their repertoire, and if any Englishman wishes 
to increase his knowledge of *' gallant little 
Wales," let him spend a holiday among the 
people there in the wild highlands or the lonely 
lowlands of Wales, where the itineraut preachers 
are still to be found as " thick as leaves in Val- 

In the ancient farmhouses of Wales, where 
once devout men of another creed — men whose 
carved crucifixes, quaintly bound missals, and 
curious rosaries, proved like a talisman every- 
where — the itinerant preachers of Wales are to 
be seen. Cowled monk, mendicant friar, and 
wandering priest, who wended their way through 
the gloomy glens, shadowed ravines, or mountain 

Old Faith m Fairy Folk 99 

passes, have been succeeded by the great dissent- 
ing brotherhood for which Wales is celebrated. 

In the days of Eobert Owen and Eichard 
Khys, people believed in ghosts, though the old 
faith in fairy folk was gradually but steadily 
waning. Long before the travellers had reached 
the abbey, conversation turned to these subjects. 

"Do you believe that there ever were such 
beings as fairies ? " asked Koberb Owen. 

" You ask me a question difficult to answer," 
said Eichard Ehys in his cpaint and slow fashion. 
" There were such beings — as giants — in times 
gone by ; that we know — for a certainty. And 
— if there were — giants — why — should not there 
have been — dwarfs ? " 

" But surely it would be impossible for such 
tiny little creatures as fairy-folk to exist. I 
have heard my mother talking about the Tylwyth 
Teg and Bendith-i-Mamau as if she knew them 

" Perhaps she did," said Eichard Ehys, the 
elder man of the two. 

" I couldn't believe it," said Eobert Owen. 

" Not believe your own mother ! Oh ! " said 

"Very likely it was only a fancy of hers," 
continued Eobert Owen. "Her great-grand- 
mother, her grandmother, and her mother be- 
lieved in fairies, and it was only natural that 

lOO Sweet Singer of Valle Crucis Abbey 

my mother should inherit the belief. Did your 
mother believe in fairies ? " 

" She did, and my grandmother too. I will 
tell you a story about my grandmother," said 
Richard Rhys. '' I've heard her tell it many a 
time. In the early days of her married life my 
father, a small farmer, had a hard struggle to 
get along. Times were bad, the family w^as 
increasing, and the harvests were small. One 
day my grandmother lamented to herself about 
the near approach of rent-day, and no money to 
meet it. Mv oTandfather was out workino; on 
the farm, and the children were playing in the 
yard. Just as my grandmother w\as thinking 
like this, she heard a knock at the door. ' Come 
in,' said my grandmother, and in walked a little 
old woman dressed in a green gown, with a red 
cloak and hood, and a tall extinguisher hat. 
She was one of the ' little people,' she said, and 
had come to help my grandmother. The fairy 
told grandmother to go in the dusk of the even- 
ing to the cross roads, and turn to the one lead- 
ing to Ruabou. Grandmother went, and was 
met by a fairy man, who gave her sufficient 
money to pay the reut, and afterwards, when- 
ever she wanted money, she went there, and the 
fairies supplied her." 

Robert Owen discredited the story, but did 
not make any comment on it. 

At Machynlleth loi 

After a brief silence Robert Owen said, '' Well, 
come now. Turniug from fairies, do you believe 
that disembodied spirits return to earth — that 
ghosts haunt any particular spot or person ? " 

" I do," said Richard Rhys firmly. 

" And I do not," said Robert Owen decidedly. 
"But T would like to have the proofs of your 

"That you shall," said Richard Rhys. ''Twenty- 
five years ago I had to fill another preacher's 
place in the Association held at Machynlleth. 
When I got there I found nearly every house 
filled with strangers from all parts, and the 
deacon had so many visitors himself that several 
of us had to sleep out. I was one of them. 
But first let me tell you that I had never been 
in the town before, and I knew nothing about 
it at all. The house I had to put up in was 
very ancient, and I could see it would soon 
tumble down. Soon after supper the first night 
I went to bed early. My room I found to be 
very large — too big for a bedroom. In it was 
a great four-posted bed, a good-sized round table 
of solid oak, and other furniture besides. Tired 
after the long journey I soon fell asleep, and 
suppose I must have slept for several hours, 
when a noise in the house disturbed me. At 
first I thouo^ht somethinof had fallen to the floor 
in the next room, but by-and-by, when more 

I02 Sweet Singer of Valle Crticis Abbey 

sounds came, I could hear the tramp of many 
feet on the stairs. Suddenly the door of my 
room flew open, and in walked a troop of men, 
I could see them as plain as possible, because 
the moonlight was as bright as day. And what 
I thought most odd was that all the men were 
dressed as armed men of hundreds of years ago. 
One of the men planted himself by the chimney- 
piece, and the others stood before him. Although 
I was very fearful, I sat bolt upright in bed to 
look at them. Some were fierce-looking, others 
were milder, but all were armed, and all wore 
swords. The men seemed to be debating, and 
the leader was apparently giving directions, 
when one of the number rushed forward, and 
lifting his sword attempted to kill the leader. 
In the twinkling of an eye the head man sprang 
aside, and the assassin was foiled. Terrible 
noise followed, and I could hear the clatter of 
arms, and the clash of swords as the men 
crowded around the fellow, who had tried to 
slay tbeir leader. Then, as strangely as they 
came in, they tramped out of the room, and I 
heard the sound of their feet going downstairs 
and out to the road." 

" And what followed ? " asked Robert Owen. 

" I got up at once," continued Eichard Ehys, 
" and I looked out, but all was as quiet as the 
grave. Before I left the town I told the deacon 

The " Parliament House 

what had happened, and he had heard the house 
was haunted." 

" Did you ever find out anything more about 
the place ? " asked Eobert Owen. 

''Not then/' replied Eichard Rhys, ''but a 
year later I met a preacher who saw exactly 
what I had seeu. It appears he found out that 
the old dwelling was called the ' Parliament 
House,' and there in 1402 Owen Glendower nar- 
rowly escaped being assassinated by Sir David 
Gam, the Fluellin of Shakespeare." 

" Have you another proof of your belief in 
ghosts ? " asked Robert Owen. 

" Yes ; one of my own and one of my fathers," 
said Richard Rhys. " Seven years ago I was do\Yn 
in Aberedwy, dear Builth, Breconshire. I had to 
preach twice on the Sunday and one week night 
in Builth. The deacon was a blacksmith, and 
lived next door to the smithy. The weather was 
very cold, and everybody believed snow would 
soon fall. It was late when I got to Aberedwy on 
the Saturday night, and late when we went to bed. 
In the dead of the night I felt cold, and got up to 
put some more blankets that the deacon's wife 
had placed on a chair by the bed. Just then I 
heard a voice by the blacksmith's shop, and it 
sounded to me as thous^h the smith was shoeins^ 
a horse, but it could not be that at two o'clock 
on a Sunday morning. I got up and looked out. 

I04 Sweet Singer of Valle Ci'7icis Abbey 

Snow was coverino^ the road, and the moon was 
shiniijg. Down by the forge a man was stand- 
ing while the blacksmith shod the horse. I 
thought it something important, or a man would 
never come to shoe his horse at such an untimely 
hour. Well, I saw the stranger remount his 
horse, and ride off, and when he was gone I 
saw a curious sight. In the snow, the mark of 
the horse's hoofs were the wrong way around. 
The smith had sliod the horse backward. I 
didn't then tell the deacon a word about what 
I saw, but next time I went to Builth, I heard 
that another preacher had seen the same sight : 
I was told it was the ghost of Prince Llewelyn, 
who rode to the smithy at Aberedwy to have his 
horse shod backward in order to defeat the 
enemy. Now, the other ghost story was told 
by my father. In his age, he was then over 
seventy, he preached one Sunday night at 
Meifod in Montgomery, and after service he 
had to go to Llanfyllin on the Vyrnwy, six 
miles away. It was a dark, wet, and windy 
night in December. My father, mounted on a 
merlyn, rode on very comfortably for two miles 
or more. Then the horse stood quite still. He 
tried to make it go on, but it would not. Then 
he heard a rustling noise in the hedge on the 
roadside. A minute later, a very tall gigantic 
figure appeared on the road. It stretched out 

'' For your Life go back " 105 

its arms as wide as ever it could, and made a 
kind of barrier across the way. My father rode 
nearer to it, and implored it in the name of the 
Lord to speak. He heard a sound like the 
rushing of a flood, and then the phantom, with- 
out moving, said, '' For your life go back." My 
father was so much astonished that he turned 
the horse's head, and rode back to Meifod. It 
was' lucky he did, for next morning the news 
came to Meifod that about the time my father 
was stopped on the road, a man was attacked 
and murdered by a gang of highwaymen. If 
my father had ridden on, he would have shared 
the same fate. The spectre on the road was a 
warning from the Lord. Now, what have you 
to say about ghosts ? " 

Eobert Owen did not r^eply. 

" Do you believe in special interposition of 
Providence ? " asked Eichard Ehys. 

" I have no reason to disbelieve, seeing I 
never had any experience in that way," said 
Eobert Owen. 

By this time the preachers approached the 
ruined Abbey of Valle Crucis. 

" It is many years since I last saw the old 
place," remarked Eichard Ehys. 

" And I have never been here before," said 
Eobert Owen. " There is time to take a look 
around, I suppose ? " 

io6 Sweet Singer of Valle Crucis Abbey 

" Plenty, plenty," said the older man. 

By this time the mists began to melt away, 
the mornino; moonliorht faded, and the shadows 
grew longer and deeper among the rnins as day- 
dawn approached. 

"It's a grand old place," remarked Robert 

" Very," said Eichard Rhys, who began moral- 
ising on the vanity of human desires and the 
scattered vestio^es of what he called '^ ecclesiastical 

Just as he came to a peroration on the subject 
a sound was heard comino^ from the distance. 

It was the voice of a singer, singing in the 
ruined choir. 

The preachers listened for a few minutes, and 
then Robert Owen said, " Let us go and see 
who it is." 

"No, lio," replied Richard Rhys, "if we do 
that we shall stop the singer." 

Robert Owen obeyed his friend ; at the same 
time he ventured, as the children say, "to have 
a peep." 

He just caught a glimpse, no more, of the long 
and somewhat broad shadow, apparently of a 
man, across the spot where once costly marble 
chancel pavement was to be seen. 

Then, fearing to disturb the singer, he drew 

The '^ Dies Irae^^ 107 

The preachers withdrew to a secluded corner 
of tbe ruins, and there listened as if spellbound. 

To the humble and simple preachers the 
singiug was mysterious, and in a language 
unknown to them. 

At first the singer appeared to be practising a 
few bars, then he went on, and by-and-by began 
siuoino^ the OTand old ^' Dies /7'ae" in Latin. 

Although the preachers did not understand a 
word of the hymn, the melody and the manner 
of singing enthralled them, especially when the 
singer sang the more pathetic parts. Both 
Eichard Khys and Kobert Owen w^ould have 
felt greater sympathy had they know^n the 
meaning of the words — 

"Recordare, Jesii pie 
Quod Slim causa tuse vise, 
iSTe me perdas ilia die, 
Qusereus me sedisti lassus, 
Redemisti crucem passus, 
Tantus labor non sit cassus." 

The singer threw wonderfully deep and pathetic 
expression into the hymn, and when the sweetly 
sad but powerful voice ceased, Eichard Ehys 
grasped Eobert Owen's hand, as though he felt 
shaken to the soul by the grandeur of the sing- 
ing. There was a pause for a moment only, and 
it seemed to the listeners that the heavens had 

io8 Szueet Singer of Valle Crucis Abbey 

opened, and a voice from on liigli began singing 
another liymn, bub still in the same unknown 
tongue. It ^vas tlie sixth "Penitential Psalm," 
the grand '' De Profundis,'' truly the cry of a 
contrite heart imploring tlie Divine mercy. Then 
as if to fully practise the beautiful Psalm, the 
singer commenced singing in English — 

" Out of tlie depths have I cried unto Thee, Lord. 
Lord, hear my voice. . . . 
. . . With Him is plentiful redemption . . . 
. . . Let perpetual light shine upon them . . . 
May they rest in peace ! " 

Then the singer ceased. Tears fill the eyes 
of the preachers, who, although they understood 
very little English, knew enough to recognise 
some of the leading passages. 

How long they had stood listening to that 
wonderful and melodious voice, neither Eichard 
Rhys nor Robert Owen could tell. 

This they knew, and this alone. Morning 
moonlight filled the land with chastened splendour 
when they entered the ruins of Yalle Crucis 
Abbey, and when they turned to proceed to 
Llangollen the sun was fairly high in the heavens. 
And they knew at last, such had been the power 
of the singer of those holy and mystic melodies, 
that hours had passed by like a dream of de- 

The Valley of the Cross 109 

" Did you ever hear anything like it ? " asked 
Eobert Owen in enraptured ecstasy. 

"Never," exclaimed Koberfc Ehys. "It was 
truly wonderfid, wonderful." 

"Whoever the singer was he had a orand 
voice," said Eobert Owen. 

" Yes," said Richard Rhys, " but I fear me 
we have tarried too long, We shall not get to 
Llangollen in time to go off with Morgan Wynne. 
That is a pity." 

"Well," said Robert Owen, "a voice like that 
is only heard once in a lifetime, and Td rather 
miss the doo^-cart than lose hearino; those divine 
strains divinely rendered." 

The preachers left the ruins and passed by the 
ancient fish-pond, where once the friars fished 
and abbots partook of the contents of the 
anglers' baskets ; then they walked from the 
lovely Valley of the Cross, and reached the road 
leaclino; to Llano-olleD. 

They arrived at Morgan AVynne's house, on 
the outskirts of the town of Llangollen, to find 
their friend had taken his departure without them. 

"How long is he gone ? " asked Robert Oweu. 

"About three hours ago," replied Mrs. 

" That is all because we listened so long on 
the way," said Richard Rhys. " It was foolish 
to do so." 

I lo Sweet Singer of Valle Crucis Abbey 

" I don't know so much about that," said 
Robert Owen. 

After refreshment and rest, the preachers 
were obliged to resume their journey. It was 
somewhat auuoying to have to walk when they 
had an opportunity of being driven. 

How foolish they were to loiter on their way ! 
How foolish it was to listen to the sweet and 
mysterious singer ! 

But were they foolish ? 

For answer they met a horseman half way 
between Llangollen and their destination. He 
was riding post haste. 

" Bad news," he breathlessly shouted, and 
halted a momeut : " Morgan Wynne and his 
brother have met with an awful accident. The 
horse took fright and ran away. John was 
thrown out and killed on the spot ; Morgan has 
been badly injured, and is only barely sensible." 

Then the horseman rode on with the news to 

Robert Owen and Richard Rhys proceeded to 
the place where the accident occurred. In a 
cottage close by, they found Morgan Wynne just 
able to recognise them, and poor John's dead 
body laid on a bed in the next room. 

The preachers in one voice offered up their 
prayerful thanks to God for their safe deliver- 
ance from peril, and perhaps death. 

Deliverance fro7n Peril 1 1 1 

Eichard Ehys declared his belief that tlie 
voice in the ruined abbey was the special and 
merciful interposition of Providence to retard 
their progress and shield them from danger. 

Robert Owen attained a good old age, and to 
the end of his life he attributed his safety on 
that perilous occasion to the wonderful, mys- 
terious, and sweet spirit-singer of Valle Crucis 

',n ^'^^ "m^ 


~, >fy^ 

. '-^n'V'^i^'^^^':-^-^'- <vr 

^be 6boet of the 6atc=='1bou6e. 

ACK, the stable-boy at the Old Farm, 
had been asked to do something very 
strange, and he puzzled his head as to 
" what the world was coming to," but having 
promised to remain silent, he kept his word. 

His young master, Meredith Gwyn, told him 
to saddle the roan mare Euby as soon as the 
old master was safely in bed, and to say " nothing 
to nobody." The old gentleman farmer, who 
was also a J. P., seldom retired much before 
midnight, and it was about a quarter after 
twelve when the young master appeared, booted 
and spurred, with hunting-crop in hand, and 
fully dressed for riding. 

Jack thought it " uncommon odd," for the 
young farmer to be " goin' off like that between 
twelve an' one o' the mornin'." 

" The mare's in splendid trim for a long ride," 
ventured Jack, as his master mounted. 

" Hold you're tongue, will you ? " said Meredith 

In the Starlit Morninp' 


Gwyn, in a rough whisper, as he gave a piece 
of silver to the boy. " Don't say a word to 

"Eight, sir," said Jack, touching his cap. 
"Now, lead the mare quietly out," said 
Meredith, " and when I'm gone, see that the 
o:ate is shut. Be here ac^ain at four to the 

" Eight, sir," said Jack, who, after his young 
master had gone, turned into the stable-room, 
and began to muse. 

" P'rhaps he's in love," he murmured to him- 
self, " but 'tis an odd time to go a courtin'." 

After speculating for more than half-an-hour. 
Jack fell asleep, but was awakened by the thought 
that his master must be admitted as quietly as 
he made his exit. So he rubbed his eyes, and 
began to think of his sweetheart, who was the 
prettiest girl in the village, or for the matter of 
that, in the whole Yale of Glamorgan. 

It w^as four o'clock in the starlit mornino- 
when Meredith Gvvvn returned home, and ^ave 
his horse into Jack's charge. 

" Not a word," said the young master. 

" Eight, sir," repeated Jack. 

At the same time he had his " thoughts," 

when he observed that Euby was covered with 

mud, and bespattered even to her ears. He 

then remembered that Master Meredith looked 


1 1 4 The Ghost of the Gate-House 

as though he had been out hunting in the worst 
of weathers. 

" It's a rum go," muttered Jack in his own 
rugged way. 

The morning passed, and breakfast - time 

"Thee'rt half asleep," said Will Morris, the 
general mau, to Jack. 

" I kept awake half the night," was the reply. 
'' I had the rheums tbat bad " 

*' Who left the hay-loft door open last night, 
I should like to know ? " continued the okl man. 

" I didn't," said Jack. 

" Nor did I," remarked Will Morris, with 
something like a nasty jeer. 

After breakfast the old man went to the 
stables, and, when there, called Jack to him. 

"Take thee care," said Will ]\Iorris, "that 
thee'st got nothin to do with Kebecca and her 
daughters, or, as sure as I be alive, I'll be the 
death of thee." 

Will Morris, the general man at the Old Farm, 
was Jack's uncle, and therefore felt he had a 
right to do as he liked with the lad. 

"I've never had any dealin's with Eebecca 
and her gang," said Jack sulkily. 

All he knew about Rebecca was what he heard 
first hand in the Old Farm from his uncle, or 
second hand in the villao;e from the idlers. 

" lis Bad Btisiness " 115 

While the master of the Old Farm and his 
family were seated at dinner, the news came that 
one of the turnpike gates, near Peterstone, had 
been destroyed, and the gate-house was burnt 
to the orrouncl. 

A few minutes later the gate-keeper himself 
came, and asked to see the farmer and masjis- 

" Bring him in here," said Mr. Meredith, who 
was too eager for news to wait until after dinner. 

"Well, wliat about it, Daniel?" asked Mr. 

'' It did happen like lightning," said Daniel. 
"They did ride up thirty or forty of 'em, all in 
women's dresses, an' their faces was as black as 
the chimney backs, an' they did lay hold on me, 
an' carry me off to the blacksmith's shop, an' 
there they did keep me, while they did break 
down the gate, an' did burn the house to the 

Daniel, having delivered his message, went 
his way. 

"It's bad business," remarked the master after 
the old man had taken his departure. " Some- 
thing must be done to put a stop to it. But 
what can be done, bothers my head." 

Day by day the demolition of the toll-gates 
increased ; brutality was frequent, and occasion- 
ally murder was committed. 

1 1 6 TJie Ghost of the Gate-Hotise 

Cue morninof in December news reached 
Peterstone, that all along the main coach road, 
from Carmarthen upward, the gates were being 
destroyed, and sad havoc was wrought. People 
in terror bolted and barred their doors, barri- 
caded their windows, and prej^ared for the 
coming of Eebecca and her daughters. Children, 
almost frightened to death, cowered in safe 
corners, and women whimpered and turned pale 
with fright. 

" It's cruel times," said those quiet men, who 
felt it their duty to leave work and stay at home 
to protect the women, the children, and the 
helpless ones. 

All along the main road, from Cowbridge to 
Cardiff, people were ready to receive Rebecca 
and her daughters. The gate-houses were forti- 
fied as best they could be, and the keepers 
thereof, while still remaining true as possible 
under the circumstances to their posts, acted as 
a rule upon the principle of the man who 
sang — 

" He M'ho figlits, and runs away, 
Will be able to figlit another day." 

In the " dead of the night," Cowbridge toll- 
gate was destroyed, and, tired after arduous 
work, Rebecca and her minions disbanded for 
what they called " a few days' rest." Wliere 

The '' Old Post'' 117 

they went, nobody knew ; but even these 
riotous ladies needed a little respite, and natu- 
rally nobody begrudged it them. People only 
wished they would always rest, and never re- 
sume their nefarious occupation. Those who 
w^aited in the neighbourhood of the next toll- 
gate — that of Bon vil stone — shivered in their 
shoes, for they knew well that Kebecca would 
soon be with them. 

The day after the demolition of the Cowbridge 
toll-gate was bitterly cold. It had been freezing 
for days, aud the leaden sky promised snow^ 
Pedestrians were glad to turn in to the " Old 
Post," a well-known and ancient hostelry near 
Bonvilstone, on the main road between Cardiff 
and Cowbridge. Travellers driving gave their 
horses a feed, and meanwhile went in and 
warmed themselves awhile before continuing the 
journey westward to Cowbridge, or eastward 
to Cardiff. 

Conversation naturally turned on the tyranny 
of turnpikes, though people felt that Rebecca 
went *' too far " in injuring harmless gate- 
keepers, and frightening innocent women and 

*' I got to pay six turnpikes 'fore I can get 
a penn'orth of coal," grumbled a coal vendor 
present. "An' what's more, I do pay eight 
turnpikes 'fore I can sell a bit anyw^here." 

1 1 8 The Ghost of the Gate- House 

The man lustily cudgelled the table with his 

"Well, then, why d' ye grumble about Rebecca ? " 
asked a hoarse-voiced cattle-drover, bringing his 
blackthorn down with a thud upon the arm of 
the settle. 

" 'Cause he do want the turnpikes to come 
down, only for him not to be in the pickle," 
said a farmer, poking the landlord's dog with 
his ash-staff. 

Party feelings ran high, and when the com- 
motion was on the verge of a brawl, the thin, 
weazened little tailor of the village entered, 
and in a squeaking voice said, "I'll venture 
my life, Eebecca'U be 'fraid of our turnpike." 

This remark immediately diverted the atten- 
tion of the brawlers. 

" Why should she be 'feard o' your turnpik' 
more'n any other ?" asked the coal vendor. 

"Is it fire-proof ?" croaked the cattle-dealer, 
who suffered from chronic hoarseness. 

" P'rhaps 'tis going to surrender without a 
word," sneered the farmer. 

" Neither," replied the tailor. " It's jest this. 
There's a mystery 'bout our gate-house, that's 

The men were angry, and clamoured to know 
what the mystery was. 

"Think I'm goin' to tell?" asked the tailor 

From Rebecca to Ghosts 1 1 9 

provokingly. "No, not I. P'riiaps you be 
daughters of Rebecca, for all I can say." 

The noise was greater now, and the men were 
for ''screwing the tailor's neck off," as they said, 
but the landlord interfered, and matters were 
amicably settled by the explanation that the 
gate-house was haunted. 

" At least, so they do say," said the landlord 
of the " Old Post," and his word was a bond 
that the county would accept. 

" Well, all I can say is that Rebecca will lay 
the ghost," said the drover. 

" Ghosts," corrected the tailor. 

'' Ghostesses, if you do like," said the coal 
vendor. '' But I've come this way all hours o' 
day an' night, an' I never see'd a ghost there 
yet, though" — and he lowered his voice — '' I've 
seen one on the road by Llantrythid church. 
They do say 'tis the ghost of one of the Aubreys 
who corned to his end 'bout there." 

So the conversation ran on, from Rebecca to 
ghosts, and from them to all sorts of nonsense, 
until the afternoon waned, and people resumed 
their various routes. 

White, and staring, and bald, the turnpike gate 
of Bonvilstone looked in the haggard twilight, 
when the dark grey snow-clouds gathered, and 
from the north-east a withering wind came 
search ingly along the highway. 

I20 The GJiost of the Gate- House 

As night approached the cold increased, and 
before nine o'clock the wind, rising higher, pre- 
vented the expected snowfall. 

Just before midnight, when darkness was 
greatest and the roadway was almost deserted, 
two men passed the " Old Post," and walked 
towards Bon vils tone. As they approached the 
gate-house, and were within about a hundred 
yards from the cottages near it, one of the men 
said to the other, " Ben, did you hear that 
noise ? " 

" What noise, Tom ? " asked Ben. 

'■' Like a groan." 

" Go along with 3^ou — I didn't hear any noise." 

- Well, I did." 

The men stood still. 

" There ; I heard it again," said Tom. " Keep 
quiet, Ben, and you'll liear it." 

Tom and Ben paused to listen. 

It was a groan — a deep, wretched groan, that 
made the men shiver, and imagine all sorts of 
dreadful things. The sound appeared to come 
from a distance, and to proceed from the east 
rather than the west. 

Then there was a pause, during which the 
wind w^histled in the trees, and sobbed around 
the scattered cottages near the gate-house. 

'' I can never go by," said Tom. 

" Bless me, you ninny," said Ben. " Come on. 

Terror-Stricken 1 2 1 

'Tis only the wind ; " and making a brave effort, 
they strode on. 

Presently they came again to a *' standstill." 

" There 'tis again," said Tom. 

It was the groan as of one in mortal pain or 
soul agony, and as it fell off into a kind of wail, 
the men clutched each other's arms in terror. 

Strange sounds had been recently heard in 
that neighbourhood, and report gave them the 
credit, or otherwise, of being supernatural. 

As the men approached the gate-house, they 
found something worse in store. In the dense 
darkness of the night, they both, and at the 
same moment, saw what was locally known as 
'^ the ghost of the gate-house." 

There it stood, as though undaunted by mortal 
gaze, and waved its arms to and fro in the night, 
while its deep and heavy groans made the strong 
men tremble. 

Tom and Ben turned back as quickly as they 
could, and when within a fair distance they 

" I'd rather walk every step of the w^ay home 
again than pass there to night," said Tom, and 
Ben agreed with him. 

Yet they were ashamed of their cowardice. 

While the men pondered as to what was best 
to be done, they heard the sound of horses, and 
turned aside just in time to escape three of 

122 The Ghost of the Gate- House 

Eebecca's scouts, who rode up within a hundred 
yards of the gate-house, remained there a few 
seconds, and returned as quickly as possible. 

"'Twas some of Rebecca's men," muttered 

" Are you sure of it ? " asked Ben. 

" I'm too used to the sound of them," said 

The men then retraced their steps, and sought 
shelter for the night in the " Old Post." 

In the morning they related their experiences 
to the landlord, and much amusement was 
created when the men stated their belief that 
Rebecca's scouts had been frightened by the 


Soon after twelve o'clock the next night 
Meredith Gwyn mounted Ruby, and this time 
Jack thought he would be equal with his master. 
In the evening of the previous day, he laid a 
plan with a friend to have a horse ready near 
the foot of the hill leading to the main road, and 
there he intended mounting and following the 
young master, who of late went either to Bonvil- 
stone or St. Nicholas. 

It was a daring resolution, but Jack had 
sufficient pluck for anything excepting to face 
his uncle's anger, and this time he risked even 

Jack ran as quickly as he could after his 

Meredith Gwyn 123 

youDg master, and mounted the horse that 
waited for him. The night ^yas dark, and all 
Jack could do was to follow — cautiously, and at 
a safe distance — the sound of Ruby's hoofs. 

Meredith Gwyn ascended the hill, and then 
rode hard and fast along the highway, until he 
reached the eastern side of the toll-gate at 
Bonvilstone. There he was joined by several 
other horsemen, who, congregated together, 
appeared to have been waiting his coming. 
Two of these men rode w^estward to the gate- 
house, and quickly returned. A conversation 
was held, and a few minutes later the w^hole 
company rode onward a few paces to the toll- 
gate. There they quietly, and without noise, 
removed the s^ate from its hins^es, threw it over 
into a field, and rode on towards Cardiff. 

Jack at a discreet distance followed until the 
party reached Cotterell, an.d then he returned to 
Peterstone, gave the horse to his friend, and 
then went home to wait for his young master. 

In great sorrow of heart, he had discovered 
that Meredith Gwyn was a friend of Rebecca, if 
not actually one of '*her daughters," and the 
knowledge was almost more than he could 

At four o'clock Meredith Gwyn returned, not 
in the least the wiser as to the part of spy that 
had been played by his servant. 

124 T^^^ Ghost of the Gate- House 

Three days later all the toll-gates from Cow- 
bridge to Cardiff were totally destroyed and 
burnt with their respective gate-houses. Only 
the gate-house at Bonvilstone escaped. That 
was left intact and untouched, and the barred 
gate was found in a field close by. 

Then the question arose, why had that obstacle 
been left unmolested, and the tailor said it was 
because of the ghost. A few years afterwards it 
was reported that tlie ghost and the tailor were 
one and the same person. 

Meredith Gwyn was " suspected " immediately 
after his latest midnight ride, but money saved 
him, and he quitted Wales for America, never to 

Eebecca subsequently returning, totally de- 
molished the Bonvilstone toll-gate, and thus 
laid the " ghost of the gate-house." 

Zbc JfUobt of tbe flDeii\Mt. 

N the year 1789 there was no prettier 
village in North Wales than Llanwd- 
djn, which formerly stood between 
Llaiifyllyn and Bala. It was a secluded and 
solitary spot, surrounded by bleak moors and 
grand but gloomy mountains that cast their 
shadows across the country, and looked like 
sentinels of grim secrets locked in the jDlains 
below. The old Llanwddyn is no longer in 

In former days it was like a fairy oasis in a 
region that at first sight appeared dull and 
dreary, but afterwards revealed scenes of varied 
beauty and unsurpassed grandeur. 

Eound about Llanwddyn the farms and 
houses were badly built and untidily kept, but 
the village itself was compact and orderly, each 
cottage having its flower-garden and orchard, 
which in the season of blossoms caused the little 

26 The Flight of the Merly 


spot to look like a glimpse of Eden among the 
dark and dreary barriers of the world. 

All the farms in the neighbourhood were — 
as they still are in that district — chiefly famed 
for their pasture lands, upon which were reared 
hundreds of black cattle of a small kind, and a 
peculiar sort of ponies called merlyns. Great 
trade in cattle, sheep, and ponies was carried on 
between the farmers and the cattle-dealers, who 
visited the district periodically for the purpose. 

Cattle-dealers from the South, pausing on their 
way to Bala, always praised the housewives of 
Llanwddyn for their clean and orderly houses, 
which, though antique in design, and for the 
most part bearing evidences of the ravages of 
time, were at least domestic strongholds with 
walls, in most instances from three to five feet 
thick. Some of those houses dated back beyond 
the days when Owen Glendower rebelled against 
Henry lY., and, witli a strong body of sturdy 
and desperate men, scoured the country, and 
attacked castle and cottage alike. 

Llanwddyn, in the year 1 789, bore a few traces 
of Glendower's rebellion and Cromwell's scouts, 
but the village escaped grave mutilation because 
the wandering rebels were bound for Bala or 

Not far from Llanwddyn, and just where the 
bleak and heather-crowned moorlands met the 

Nant-y- Garth 1 2 7 

base of one of the grim mountain ranges, there 
was a narrow ravine. In the topography of 
Merionethshire the name of this ravine was not 
recorded, but from time immemorial it had 
been called the Nant-y-Gartb, which means the 
ravine or dii]gle leading to a ridge, a hill, or a 
mountain. Nant-y-Garth was a steep ravine, 
winding upwards from the moorlands to the 
mountains. Its grey cliffs were covered with 
richly -tinted mosses, and in every nook and 
cranny all kinds of ferns grew in profusion. 
Gnarled and ancient oaks stretched forth their 
arms, as if yearning to reach the light that fell 
brokenly through the trees on the tops of the 
high cliffs. It was a very lonely spot. The 
morning sunlight penetrated half-way through 
the ravine, and then passed away, leaving the 
shadows to grow darker and the grey cliffs to 
look more foreboding than ever. In the winter, 
the mountain streamlets made a broad pathway 
in the rocky road, and kept the place clean and 
free from earth, and in the summer, pedestrians, 
wishino' to ascend to the heio^hts, could do so 
with comparative ease and comfort. Down 
through Nant-y-Garth the shepherds brought 
their sheep from the sheep-walks among the 
mountains, and the cow-boys, driving their herds 
of small black cattle from the higher table-lands, 
selected this ravine as the nearest way home. 

1 28 The Flight of the Merlyn 

Nant-y-Gcirtli was about half-a-mile long, and 
termiuated near the first ridge of the mountain 
range. At the summit of the ravine, sheltered 
by a grove of stunted and weather-beaten oaks, 
was a little half tumbled-down cottage, which 
had once been a small and poor farmstead. The 
mountain streamlets passed it by, but the rnins 
and the action of the weather had battered the 
outhouses, and only the house itself remained. 
It was the dwelling-place of a farmer's herdsman, 
whose father and grandfather had occupied the 

Twm O'Garth, as he was called, was a bachelor 
of sixty, living with his mother, who was known 
in Llanwddyn as Betty Barebones, a beldame of 
eighty. People were afraid of Betty, because 
she was supposed to have supernatural power, 
and to be able to dispense good or bad luck to 
willing or unwilling recipients. The gossips said 
where she willed it, she could do Q^reat Hood or 
do evil with equal power. 

Betw^een the months of March and September, 
Betty, even at the age of eighty, would descend 
to the valley villages. After that she was seen 
no more until the month of wild winds brought 
the crocuses and catkins. 

In the wdnter Twm O'Garth looked after the 
merlyns, or mountain ponies, and worked in the 
woods for his master, a gentleman farmer in 

Betty Barebones 129 

Llariwddyi], but iti the suDimer be attended to 
the vast berds of small black cattle tbat browsed 
upon the mountain sides. 

Very few people ever visited Twm at home. 
Betty Barebones was the obstacle in the w^ay. 
But Twm regularly descended through Nant-y- 
Garth to the " King's Head " in Llanwddyn, 
there to smoke his pipe, drink his civvw, and 
hear the latest news from the cattle-dealers 
and drovers that frequented the old Tudor 

In the earlier days of her son's life, Betty 
remonstrated with Twm upon the frequency of 
his visits to the " King's Head," but the habit 
inherited from three generations of ancestors 
remained unbroken, and the herdsman at last 
went his way unreproved. 

Betty spent the greater part of her time in 
collecting herbs, and making infusions thereof, 
which she sold for a good price in the surround- 
ing villages, and once a week from " spring-time 
to fall," she went with the carrier to Bala — a 
distance of about eioht miles — and there dis- 
posed of her herb teas and herb beers. Rue tea 
for epileptic patients, dandelion tea for affections 
of the liver, tonics for the weak, and cooling 
concoctions for the robust, with other infusions, 
were prepared and sold by her. She made all 
sorts of healing and soothing ointments, plaisters, 

1 30 The Flight of the Merlyn 

embrocations for the " rheumatics," drops for the 
"rheums," and liniments for sprains, strains, 
broken bones, and bruises. 

Tiie old woman obtained her sobriquet of 
Betty Barebones because she was tall and thin, 
and, as the villagers said, " more like a skileton " 
(skeleton) than a living woman. There was ''a 
bit of the witch about her," the people said, and 
everybody believed her to be gifted with second 
sight, and the power of foretelling future events. 
She made a rhyme, which ran thus — 

" Llanwddyn's tower shall tumble down ; 
A llyn (lake) shall fill the moorlands brown ; 
A llyn shall flood the pasture lands, 
And waters shall be where earth now stands. 

" House and home, and orchard wall, 
By the hand of man shall fall ; 
Llanwddyn shall become a llyn. 
Then may Bala shake within." 

The cattle-drovers in the '' King's Head " 
kitchen ridiculed Betty Barebones rhyme, and 
the horse-dealers and others in the tavern parlour 
declared the old Avoman was witless. 

'•'Twni O'Garth, dost thee believe thy mother 
did mean what she did put in the verses? " asked 
a cattle-drover. 

" Iss inteed to goodness, I do believe it as sure 
as I be a livin' man," replied Twm. " She's un- 

A^non^ the Drovers 1 3 1 

common odd, an' wuss as she do get older. 
Miud you now, 'tis no great shakes livin' with 

" Why ? " asked the drover. 

" She do talk most parts of the iiights, an' 
lately she's bin sayin' such odd thiDgs," con- 
tinued Twm. 

" What's she bin sayin' ? " urged the drover. 

" I uever can tell," replied Twm. 

" Have another drink," said the drover. 

"Man alive, I've had two," said Twm. 

" Three won't hurt thee," continued the 

By and by Twm was willing to double the 
three quantities of beer, and then the drover's 
object was attained. Other drovers came and 
crowded the old oaken settles in the kitchen, 
and all present wished to hear what Betty 
Barebones had been saying. 

" Come now, Twm ; tell us all about it," 
clamoured the men. 

" Well," said Twm, " one night a bit ago I 
did go home, an' I s'pose I was purty dirty 
lookin', an' up an' says the old woman, ^ Thee'st 
bin at the "King's Head" again.' An' if I was 
never to move aoain, the inside of the ' Kino^'s 
Head' hadn't seed me that night. So says I, 
I did slip just in front of Nant-y-Garth, an' that 
was cause of a rolUn stone. ' Well,' says I, 

1 3 2 The Flight of the Merlyn 

' you be the oddest woman for a mother as ever 
was. When a man do come home full of bruises, 
an' bruises is worse than broken bones — you ' 

" ' Hold thee tougue the old c-nock,' says my 
mother, 'best thing for bruises is snail's-foot 
oil. Thee look for some of that tomorrow an' 
thee '11 soon mend.' An' with that she did go 
to bed. An' I did sit up a spell. An if I was 
never to move again, I didn't have one spot 
of liquor in me. Well, that night 'bout two in 
the mornin' I did hear the old ooman talkin' to 
herself. An' I did listen. An' this is what she 
was say in', ' There's nothin' like suail's-foot oil 
for bruises. An' by an by there'll come a 
bruise, that Twm O'Garth 'on't get over, n-ither. 
An' when he's dead, dead as a nit, his body '11 
be tied to a pony's back, and the merlyn '11 fly 
away with his corpse. An there'll be a rumpus ! ' 
Then the old ooman did begin a-singin' to her- 
self the same piece you did hear me repeat 
just now." 

The drovers laughed heartily, and persisted in 
calling Betty Barebones moonstruck. 

Althouoh Twm often acknowledg-ed to himself 
that his mother was, as he called it, '' hipped," he 
did not like anybody else to revile her. So he 
keenly resented the drovers' insolence, and a 
noisy brawl ensued. 

It was late, or rather early in the morning, 

Twm o' Garth 

when Twm reached home. During his progress 
through Nant-y-Garth, he had fallen several 
times, and presented a woe-begone appearance 
as he sat down in the arm-chair beside the 
hearth, where a smouldering^ fire still remained. 
He slept heavily for several hours, and when he 
aw^oke, the sunlight was streaming in through the 
little window^s of the cottage. 

"Thee'lt save a sight o' money, only give thee 
time, Twm," said Bett}^, as she prepared the 

Twm remained silent. 

"Art hard o' hearin ?" asked Betty. 

No answer. 

" 'Tis well when a man o' sixty do begin 
to think 'bout savin','' persisted Betty, adding, 
"Thee'rt lookin' copper this mornin'." 

Tw^m, who had indulged too freely the pre- 
vious night, was by no means in a good humour, 
and at length he said, '' Thee'rt anuff to make a 
man mad ! How ken I save when thee dost take 
every penny of my wages. Last night I did go 
down without a penny in my pocket, an' the 
others did say, ' Thee'rt tied to the mammy's 
apron strings,' an' that's how I've bin all my life, 
an' I s'pose that's how I shall be to the end of 
my days ! " 

" The end's nearer than thee dost think. Thee'lt 
go to the ' King's Head ' once too often," said 

134 The Flight of the Merlyn 

Betty Barebones. "Take thee warnin' in time. 
Next bout will be the last for thee." 

Betty Barebones clenched her fist in ber son s 
face, and almost hissed at him. 

After breakfast Twm went to his work, but 
all through that day, and far into the next night, 
his mother's words kept ringing in his ears. 
" Next bout with them drovers will be the last 
for thee ! " 

The words rang in his brain like a funeral 
knell, and for days Twm moved about like one 
in a dream. 

For many months after that, Twm avoided the 
'•King's Head" wdienever the cattle dealers and 
drovers came to Llanwddyn. As chief herdsman 
of the farm he was obliged to meet these men, 
but he was careful not to go to the " King's 
Head" with them. 

Summer with its brilliant sunshine, its birds 
and flowers, passed away, and a rainy autumn 
flooded the lowlands, and filled the woodland 
hollows with water. 

Autumn was succeeded by a wet winter, and 
the Welsh villagers said, ''A green winter makes 
a full churchyard." 

Just before Christmas a hard frost set in. It 
lasted four days, and then rain came again. The 
rain falling upon the frozen earth made the roads 
and pathways very slippery, and locomotion 

// TO as Christinas Eve 135 

became both difficult and dangerous. For a 
week or more men were continually falling, 
sometimes with bad results and broken bones. 

It was Christmas Eve. 

The clouds hovered heavily over Llanwddyn. 

Towards nio-ht a wild wind arose, howlinoj 
drearily among the mountains, and wailing 
around the bleak moorlands. 

It whistled anion 2: the bare branches of the 
gnarled oaks in Nant-y-Garth, and it sighed 
wearily arouud the herdsman's lonely cottage. 

Betty Barebones replenished the fire on the 
hearth, and then busied herself in making oint- 
ments, always much in demand during the 

Now and again she paused to look out into 
the storm, which was rising to almost a 

Not a star was to be seen, and before seven 
o'clock rain bes^an to fall. 

About an hour later Betty was startled by 
a loud knock at the door. 

It was most unusual for anybody to come to 
that lonely spot at night, especially in the 

" Come in," shouted Betty. 

In response, a big, rough-looking youth of 
about seventeen entered, accompanied by his 

136 The Flight of the Merlyn 

It was Ivor the cowboy. 

" I wouldn't 'a' come up lieer if it hadn't 'a' 
been for the missis, an' if I did think it would 
rain I wouldn't 'a' come up 't all." 

Ivor the cowboy was strong, stalwart, and 
tall. Hereditary tendencies, life spent in the 
open air, and continual active exercise, made 
Ivor more sprightly than the majority of youths 
of his class. He w^as famed in the neighbour- 
hood for his fearlessness, both as a rider and 

" What's up now ? " asked Betty. 

" The missis has got the rheumatics dus'prate 
bad, an' she do want some o' your stuff for it. 
She's been bad for more'n a w^eek now," said 

Betty had often treated the farmer's wife for 
rheumatism, and she quickly prepared the 

'' Here's the stuff," said Betty. '* She must 
rub it where she do feel the most pain. An' she 
must keep on with it constant all through the 
wiiiter. 'Tis no good to rub a drop in to-day, 
an' then leave it off for a. week or so. She must 
rub, rub, rub every day, whether she's got the 
pain or not. There's nothin' wnss than the 

'' Thank goodness, I don't know what they be," 
said Ivor. 

Ivor the Coivboy 1 3 7 

" Thee'lt never know much 'bout 'em," said 
Betty. ^' There's nine lives in tliee, like in me." 

'' Ay, ay," said Ivor, " they do say there's 
nine lives in every cat." 

Betty, shaking her fist at Ivor, said, "Never 
mind. Thee'lt do me t^YO good turns yet 'fore I 
do die." 

"Don't know so much 'bout that," said Ivor. 
" Thee don't give anybody the chance to do good 
for thee or thine.'' 

" Thee'lt have two chances for all that," said 
Betty, indulging in a wild, unearthly scream, 
startling Ivor, who mentally remarked how 
dreadful it must be to live with such a hag. 
" 'Tis a dark night anuff," said Betty, opening 
the door and peering out into the little garden. 
" Hast got a lantern ? " 

" Iss," said Ivor ; ^^ who'd come up Nant-y- 
Garth of a night like this without one % I put 
it by the gate." 

" Then 'tis blown out," said Betty, '' for I 
don't see no sign of a light anywhere." 

And so it proved. 

When the lantern was re-lighted, Ivor, ac- 
companied by his dog, set forth on his return 
through Nant-y-Garth. The wind was not 
quite so high, and the rain by this time had 

Ivor strode on as quickly as it was possible. 

The Flight of the Merlyn 

because everybody was afiaid to venture that 
way after dark. 

Some said Nant-y-Garth was haunted, others 
declared that unknown witches came there 
to meet Betty Barebones at midnight, and 
it was whispered that the witches' Sabbath 
was kept inside and outside the herdsman's 

With a shiver Ivor remembered all these 
sayings, and his flesh began to creep with 
unnatural coldness as he more firmly clutched 
his ox-goad and whistled to his dog. 

When about half-way down the ravine he 
heard the owls hooting and the wind wailing 
among the trees on the top of the clifl's. 

Still another sound, and one that made Ivor's 
heart to beat wildly. 

It was a blood-curdlingr sound. It now re- 
sembled the deep baying of distant hounds ; 
then it sounded like a mighty groan. 

Ivor hurried on. He began to think of the 
Crwn Annwn, or spirit-hounds, and the groaning 
of the Gwrach-y-rhybin — the hag of the mid- 
night mist. 

Stricken with terror, Ivor thrAight he could 
see ofoblins and hobo^oblins s^rinnino: wherever 
his lantern light flashed. 

Again he heard the strange sounds. As he 
strode quickly forward he imagined he heard 

Strange Sounds and Footsteps 139 

footsteps following him ; but he had not the 
courage to turn round and look back. 

Perhaps it was some of the witches who 
visited Betty ; perhaps it was Betty Barebones 
herself, following him with some additional 
recipes for his mistress. If so, she must come 
to him, for he could not turn round to her. 

Ivor quickened his pace, and, as the strange 
sounds still continued, the cowboy began to run. 
As he ran, it seemed to him that the sounds 
grew louder, and the footsteps following him 
became swifter too. Ivor ran without ceasing 
until he reached the entrance to Nant-y-Garth, 
where the sounds and footsteps suddenly ceased. 
Then, utterly exhausted, he paused to rest on 
the way-side. 

From dark cloud-rifts the moon looked down 
upon Llanwddyn, and Ivor was glad to sec in 
the distance the welcome lights of the village, 
and soon he reached home, vowing that never 
again would he go through Nant-y-Garth at 

When he related his experiences to his fellow- 
servants, one of the elder men said, " 'Tis Christ- 
mas Eve, an' I've heerd say that all sorts of noises 
ken be heerd in Nant-y-Garth 'bout this time, 
and again on the ' tier nos ysprydion ' (the three 
spirit nights)." 

" If I was never to move again, I do b'lieve 

1 40 The Flight of the Merlyn 

Betty Barebones is a witch," said another 

" An' ouo^ht to be burnt for a witch," chimed 
in one of the farm boys. 

The next morning; Twm O'Garth did not 
appear to fulfil his duties, though the master 
had said he need not on Christmas Day come 
so early as on ordinary days. But when ten 
o'clock came, and the chief herdsman did not 
appear, the farmer ordered Ivor to go to Twm's 

The cowboy said he was afraid to go alone. 

" Afraid, and by daylight ? " exclaimed the 

*' You'd be 'fraid too," said Ivor, " if you'd bin 
through Nant-y-Grarth last night." 

Ivor asked Wat the ploughboy to go with 
him, and they set out at once. 

When half-way through Nant-y-Gartb, Ivor 
told his companion where he first heard the 
strange sounds. 

" 'Twas uncommon odd," said Wat. 

" You'd have said so if you'd been there," said 

They walked silently on for some time, and 
then AVat exclaimed, " Look there — d'ye see 
that ? " 

" What ?" asked Ivor, looking in the direction 
indicated by Wat. 

But what is itf 141 

" Can't you see, boy," replied Wat, peering at 
the stones on the pathway. 

" One might think you'd caught sight of a 
snake," said Ivor, stepping forward. '^ But what 
is it ? " 

*' Why, 'tis nothin' more nor less than blood ! " 
said Wat. 

The boys went on. The blood-marks increased 
in number and size, and when the boys were 
three parts through Nant-y-Garth, they saw a 
good-sized j)ool of blood. 

" Murder ! " exclaimed Wat. 

" It looks like it," said Ivor. 

About a hundred yards from the herdsman's 
cottage, the boys saw Betty, who appeared to be 
dragging a burden towards the house. 

Seeing the boys, she cried out, " Come, come ; 
be quick, he be just dead." 

The boys soon reached her, and immediately 
drew back in horror, for the burden that Betty 
Barebones dragged homewards was the lifeless 
body ofTwm O'Garth. 

Twm's blood-bespattered face was pallid with 
death, and from a fearful gash in the back of his 
head a gory stream issued. 

Betty Barebones gave a strange unearthly 
shriek, then said, '' Twm didn't come home last 
night, an' I did look an' listen an' wait, but no 
sign of him did I see. Surely, says I, he's 

142 The Flight of the Merlyn 

stayed down in the master's, 'cause 'tis Christmas 
Eve, an' he'll be up by breakfast. But when 
the clock did strike nine, an' I did see no sign 
of him, I did start to come down to the village. 
An' when I did get half-wny down Nant-y-Garth, 
who should I see but Twm lyin' in a heap by 
the eldei' bushes. ' Twm,' says I, all in a fright, 
' how did'st thee come heer \ ' But he did give 
no answer. So I did look, and then 1 did see his 
head was bleed in'. By an' by he did open his 
eyes, and then he did groan. An' all he did say, 

' home to die.' But he did die there and 

then, an' I did try to lift his body, but couldn't. 
'Twas too heavy. Then I did try to drag it up, 
an' did faint twice on the road. I did thank my 
stars when I did see you comin'." 

The boys then bore the body onward. Betty 
following, kept muttering to herself all the 
time, " I did warn him of it. I did say the 
next bout will be the last for thee, but he did 
take no heed." 

Having laid the body on a bed, Ivor and Wat 
prepared to return home. 

"Thee'st done one good turn forme — didn't 
I say thee would'st ? " said Betty to Ivor. 
" Thee'lt do another in a bit. Thee didst help 
to carry poor Twm home to his mother, sure 

Then Betty began to cry, but her tears soon 

The Herdsman s Cottage 143 

vauisbed, and leaping about a foot from the 
ground, she shrieked so suddenly and sharply 
that the boys were startled. 

Ivor and Wat returned home, and Betty Bare- 
bones was left alone with the dead. 

As soon as the news spread through the vil- 
lage, nearly everybody accused Betty of having 
murdered her son. 

But even Betty Barebones found friends in 
need, in the persons of her son's master, and, 
strangely enough, the landlord of the *' King's 
Head," who declared that, although Twm was 
very drunk, he persisted in going home. A 
neighbour led liim so far as Nant-y-Garth, but 
feared to go beyond, and the neighbour said 
Twm was sufficiently sobered by that time to 
go home alone. The doctor said Twm had 
stumbled, and, very likely falling on the back 
of his head, received his mortal wound. 

He must have been soon insensible, and the 
groans that Ivor heard wxre evidently the dying 
agonies of Twm O'Garth. Three days after 
Christmas the funeral was to take place. 

Many people wended their way up through 
Nant-y-Garth who had never been there before, 
and all agreed it was a lonesome place to 
live in. 

The herdsman's cottage was in a very awkward 
situation. Vehicles could never approach it, and 

144 ^^^^ Flight of the Merlyn 

the only means of access to it from the village, 
was by a narrow, steep, and very rough road 
leading to the labyrinth of sheep-walks, or via 

When Twm's father died there, the bearers 
failed to traverse the sheep-walks, and they 
knew it woukl be impossible to descend through 
Nant-y-Garth. So they had recourse to a custom 
prevalent in some parts of Wales to this day. 
The coffin was securely strapped upon the back 
of a merlyn or mountain pony, and the animal 
was led slowly from the heights to the village 
of Llanwddyn. 

Betty decided that Twm's body was to be 
borne in the same way. 

Twm was much respected in the neighbour- 
hood, and the number of people attending the 
funeral was unexpectedly large. The herdsman's 
cousins and friends, who, under ordinary circum- 
stances, would have been bearers, strapped the 
coffin to the merlyn s back, and then the animal 
was cautiously led along the sinuous sheep-walks. 

The long procession had moved onward about 
half a mile, when a sudden and sharp turn in the 
sheep-walks caused the people to halt. The first 
half of the cortege was lost to sight by huge 
crags and boulders on the mountain side, when 
those behind heard a shout or cry of alarm from 
those in advance. 

A Stj^ange and Gruesome Scene 145 

" What is it ? " whispered everybody as the 
procession was obliged — owing to the narrowness 
of the way — to go in Indian rank and file. 

The turn in the path revealed all. 

Fleeting down the mountain side went the 
merlyn with the cofiin on its back. The animal, 
stumbling beside the boulders, became frightened 
and escaped its leader. 

It was a strange and gruesome scene. 

The mourners crowded together speechlessly, 
and looked over the mountain - side to the 
lower sheep-walks whither the fleet-footed and 
frightened merlyn speeded. 

On, on, with the rapidity of lightning the 
animal went, until it was lost in the dense 
windings of the woods at the base of the 

The mourners could not give chase, because 
the descent was dangerous. They walked c[uickly 
on, and only hoped that the pony would be 
caugrht in the villag;e. 

Still, onward speeded the merlyu. Now it 
galloped, then it stood still, only to start away 
more wildly than before ! 

On it went, its burden still securely strapped 
to its back. It fled so madly through Llanwd- 
dyn that it could not be caught, and then it 
sped along the road leading to Bala. 

Pedestrians paused and gazed in wonderment 

146 The Flight of the Merlyn 

to see a merlyn with a coffin strapped on its 
back, running as if for a wager or a race. 

The day passed, but no news came of the 
merlyn. It was a terrible and gruesome flight. 

Through daylight and into tlie darkness the 
pony speeded onward, up bill and down dale, 
while some peoj^le regarded it as a weird and 
dreadfully uncanny spectacle, and others looked 
upon it as an apparition, rather than a living 
object bearing the burden of death. 

All agreed that Betty Barebones had "be- 
witched " the merlyu. 

Two days later, news about that awful flight 
were brought by a minister from below Bala. 
He said that a merlyn answering to the descrip- 
tion given of the Llanwddyn pony, with loosened 
straps, was found dead just where the Treweryn 
joins the Dee, and still lower down a coffin 
was seen floating on the waters, and people 
in one of the villages in pity buried the 

And that was the last heard of Twm O'Garth. 

Betty Barebones never recovered from the 
shock of her ill-fated son's funeral. 

The people in Llanw^ddyn tried to persuade 
her to go and live in the village, but she would 
not, and afterwards, twice a week, the farmer 
and his wife sent provisions up to their faithful 
herdsman's mother. Sometimes Wat went up, 

The Welsh Alountains 147 

and sometimes Ivor would go, but never again 
in the night. 

In the February after Twm's death the weather 
became severely cold. The wind groaned and 
howled among the mountains, and every day the 
frost became more intense. Rivers were ice- 
bound. Llyn Tegid, as Bala lake is called, was 
completely frozen over ; streamlets were petrified, 
and from the summit to the base in Nant-y- 
Garth silver-green icicles were suspended, and 
fantastic icework transformed the gnarled oaks 
into traceries and designs of Gothic grandeur. 

It was bitterly, bitingly cold. Even the howl- 
ing wind seemed to be frozen. 

After a dark and windy week, with a 
leaden sky, snow began to fall, and continued 
to do so without intermission for four days and 

The snow assumed every shape of white mag- 

The Welsh mountains everywhere appeared 
like orrand monarchs risino^ one above the other, 
surrounded by pale warriors and lordly citadels. 
The sternness of the storm-beaten cliffs and 
crags was beautifully softened, and each tower- 
ing mountain peak was clothed with graceful 
draperies of white. 

Humble alder and black-thorn, stately oak 
and elm, graceful chestnut and lordly fir were 

1 48 The Flight of the Merlyn 

veiled with fairy-like woof and warp of snow, 
and with fringes of flashing icicles. 

Almost all work and traffic were totally sus- 
pended. Mankind congregated around the blaz- 
ing hearths ; womankind longed for the frost to 
break up, and take the men out of their way. 

On the fifth day, when the blinding snow 
ceased falling, the thoughts of the people re- 
verted to Betty Bareboiies. 

" What about Betty ? " asked Ivor's master. 

" We did take her a basketful of things up on 
Monday," said Ivor. 

'^ And 'tis Friday to-day," said the farmer. 

" I sent enough food to last about a week," 
said his wife. 

*' She must have a fresh supply to-morrow," 
said the farmer. " But who can get at her in 
this weather? Much better if the wilful old 
woman had come down long ago as we wanted 
her to. I don't know what is to be done." 

" I'll go up," said Ivor. 

"I don't see how it can be done," said his 
master. " Nant-y-Garth is choked with snow, 
and it would be sheer madness to try the moun- 
tain paths." 

Few men who hold human life as their dearest 
possession would have attempted to effect an 
entrance to Nant-y-Garth, much less to scale the 
mountain sides, in such weather. 

A Perilous Errand 149 

Yet, knowing the dangers well, Ivor, on the 
morrow, started patiently to make his way through 
the desolate ravine, and that too at a time when 
perhaps the storm would recommence with re- 
newed severity. 

Before proceeding, the courageous cowboy 
took a hearty meal — eating it as a soldier arm- 
ing himself for warfare. As the last crumb dis- 
appeared he said, " Now, lads, the next meal will 
be with Betty Barebones if I shall ever reach her 

Was her old life worth the risk of a young 
life ? asked the farm-folk. 

Ivor knew it was a perilous errand, but he 
started with a light and brave heart, though the 
chances of wind and weather were against bim. 

Seizing a long pole, he called out gaily to his 
fellow-servants — 

"Joy go with me, and a pottle of moss, 
If I never come back 'twill be no loss ! " 

He knew that one of the worst parts of his 
journey would be to reach the entrance of Nant- 
y- Garth from the main road. The route lay 
along very rugged uplands filled with deep hol- 
lows, around which he was obliged to feel his 
way, now using the long pole, and then creeping 
on his hands and knees in the most slippery 

1 50 The Flight of the Merlyn 

Before reaching Nant-y- Garth, the snow began 
to beat pitilessly in his face, and strong gusts of 
wind frequently forced his steps backward. 

Ivor consoled himself by remarking that once 
in Nant-y-Garth, he would at least be sheltered 
from the relentless wind and the blinding snow. 

Half a mile from the ravine he found himself 
up to the shoulders in snow. By means of his 
long pole he extricated himself, and with con- 
siderable difficulty reached the entrance of the 
ravine, there to be obstructed by a huge sloping 
barrier of snow. The surface was frozen as 
hard as it could be, but the cowboy feared 
to trust the treacherous crust, which might at 
any moment give way and prove to be a snowy 

For a moment Ivor stood in a sheltered corner, 
and closed his aching, snow-blinded eyes. 

How to get over that snowy barrier, was a 
problem difficult to solve. 

Suddenly he remembered that the ancient 
oaks at the entrance of the ravine were as 
strong as iron. If only he could get hold of the 
branches he would be able to ascend. 

By means of his long pole he took a long- 
leap forward, and was able to clutch one of the 
snow-encumbered branches. 

Now courage and confidence were returning. 
He was not cold any longer. 

A Grand Sight 1 5 i 

Swino^ing himself from one frozen branch to 
another, be soon reached a ledge in the rocks 
overhanging the snow barrier. Once there, he 
phxnted his pole in the top of the ridge, when 
suddenly, and with great noise, an avalanche de- 
scended from the upper rocks, and went thunder- 
ino' down into the mouth of the ravine. 

Ivor was then able to descend from the cliff 
side into the ravine. 

There, in some places the snow was deeply 
drifted, while in other parts the rocks appeared 
as slippery as glass. 

Now Ivor was climbing; around huo;e boulders 
— now he strode along spaces blown bare of snow 
— and now he sank into drifts that every moment 
threatened to bury him. Now he would pause to 
rest and look back down throug^h the ravine. 

What a grand sight ! 

With that solemn and almost melancholy 
religious feeling which Welshmen possess in 
common with the Hebrews, Ivor thought of the 
judgment, the great white throne, the arch- 
angels and angels clad in snow^-white raiment. 
And, as he passed onward, the snow-enshrouded 
oaks reminded him of hoary Druids clothed in 
the spotless raiment that distinguished them on 
the borders of the battlefield from the ancient 
British w^arriors. 

A fearfid feeling of desolation came over him. 

1 5 2 TJie Flight of the Merlyn 

In temporary despair he sank down suddenly on 
the slippery rocks, as if he would gladly embrace 
death to escape the loneliness and hunger and 
thirst for life. 

Then, again, he seemed to hear voices calling 
him higher up the ravine — kindly voices of 
angels and Druids, miugled with the urging 
tones of ancient warriors. 

It was then — his own strength flagging- — that 
Ivor looked higher for the first time, calling on 
his Master for help. 

He staggered on his journey, and soon ap- 
proached the top of the ravine. Only another 
turn of the grim cliff's and crags, and the herds- 
man's cottage would be in sight. Onward he 
went, clasping a slippery boulder to avoid falling 
into a miniature avalanche. 

But what was this in the snow ? His pole 
struck something hard, and stooping down he 
found it to be an old crook, and beside it a three- 
legged stool. He wondered vaguely what they 
meant. Then he found a saw, a shovel, a pan, 
and a large old-fashioned flannel apron blown 
across the frozen branches of low-ofrowinof hazels. 

Breathing in heavy gasps, not daring to guess 
what was before him, Ivor pressed on towards 
the cottage. But, alas ! it was not there ! 

An avalanche descending from the upper 
ranges of the mountains had swept over the 

Digging the Snow Away 153 

cottage, and left it a ruio. Only one wall of the 
house built against the cliffs alone remained, and 
part of the broken roof lay before it. 

Ivor called out loudly, but was only answered 
by echoes. He made his way to the site of the 
cottage, calling and shouting at every step. 
Straining his ears to catch some answer to his 
cries, he heard a faint sound cominof from the 
snow-buried garden. He listened. 

" Here," a feeble voice said. 

He called again, " Betty ! Betty ! " 

" I be here/' answered the voice, as that of 
some one expecting help. 

Ivor hurried on in the direction of the sound. 
In a moment he was on the spot, digging the 
snow away with his hands. 

" Who was it ? " came the cry. 

" Ivor — the cowboy," was the answer. 

" Oh, Ivor, boy ! I did feel sure God wouldn't 
leave me to die here all alone. I've been prayin' 
all along to Him," and poor old Betty Barebones' 
pinched face had a smile for the cowboy. " How 
good God is ! " 

Tears rolled down from the cowboy's semi- 
blinded eyes to his frost-blistered cheeks. He 
could not speak. Loosening the old woman 
from the snow and wreck of the cottage, he 
clasped her in his arms. The movement gave 
her acute pain. One of her arms was broken. 

154 ^^^^ Flight of the Merlyn 

and her body was crushed and lacerated. He 
hastened with his burden to the wall that still 
stood against the cliffs, and laid Betty under its 
shelter. Then he took oflp his greatcoat nnd 
covered her with it. As he did so, her eyelids 
slowly lifted. 

'' I did tell you you'd do me another good 
turn," said Betty, while the tears rolled down 
her wan and wasted face. "Ivor, I did think 
'twas the Judgment-day, an' that the world was 
come to an end, an' I was up here — left alone to 
face my Maker." 

*' Can you tell me all 'bout it ? " nsked Ivor, 
kneeling beside Betty. 

A long pause followed, her eyes closed, and 
occasionally she compressed her lips, as if to 
overcome pain. 

By and by she said, "It did come when I was 
makin' a bit o' breakfast this mornin'. Just as 
I was tuiiiin' from the fire to the table I did 
hear a dreadful noise like thunder. Every thin' 
seemed to be breakin', as if the mountains was 
comin' on top o' me, an' then, in the twinklin' of 
an eye, the roof did fall, an' I was stunned. I 
did know no more till I did find myself in the 
snow jest as thee did'st find me. God did send 
thee here, Ivor ! " 

She lifted her withered hand and passed it 
over the lad's brown and blistered face. 

^' The End is Comt7i " 155 

''Listen, Ivor," the old woman whispered. 
"When the snow is gone, tliee can'st look for 
the old chest what used to be by the chimney, 
thee'lt find there 'bout three hundard pounds. 
That'll pay thee for thy trouble. 'Tw\as very 
well to look on it once — 'tis no good to me 
now ! " 

Ivor buried his face in his hands, and his 
whole frame shook with sobs. Never before had 
Ivor seemed so helpless. 

Suddenly he remembered that in the wallet he 
carried on his shoulder his mistress had put a 
phial containing a comforting cordial, which she 
told him to use ''to keep out the cold." He 
gave some of it to Betty, ' and took a little 

The cordial appeared to revive the old woman, 
who firmly held one of his hands, while Ivor for 
the first time realised the situation. 

To move Betty was a sheer impossibility, and 
to go for help was to leave her to meet certain 
death alone. 

Betty looked up. She seemed to guess what 
was passing through his mind. 

"Ivor, boy," said she. "Don't thee mind. 
I did heer the call — I got nothin' to fear now — 
it won't be long — the end is a-comin'." 

Her eyes closed again, and tears slowly 
found their way down the deeply furrowed 

156 The Flight of the Merlyn 

cheeks — not tears of rebellion, but bitter drops 
of sorrow for a life wasted in miserable and 
unnecessary loneliness. Had she mingled with 
her fellow-mortals, and come down to the world, 
she would have died in her bed. She now felt 
that her life had been as far removed from 
human kind as if she had lived in a tropical 
desert, or among the ice fields of the polar 

"Ivor," said Betty slowly, "if thee canst 
lift me a bit, I do think the pain would come 

The cowboy lifted her, and rested her poor old 
head on bis shoulder. 

'' Ivor, my boy — tell 'em all down there I did 
mean well to 'em. Only I was always odd like, 
and did keep from 'em. But — " she faltered, " I 
was never a witch, nor hadn't no dealin's, as they 
did say, with the old Satan. No, no ! An' when 
the snow do go — you come an' take the old chest, 
an' the money's yours." 

Ivor remained silent. He did not want, did 
not hope for reward. 

"Promise me, Ivor," added Betty. " 'Tis a 
dyin' wish, an' we in the old country do always 
respect the dead. Promise me." 

" I promise," said Ivor solemnly. 

Betty's eyes looked radiantly up at him. 

"They're a-comin'," she said, "they're a-comin' 

A S^ioivy Grave 157 

— tlie angels an' the holy ones, an' — peace — ever- 
lastin' — peace ! " 

And with a sigh, and a tear of joy, Betty 
passed away. 

Ivor laid her body to rest where her poor 
wasted frame would be protected until it could 
have decent funeral. 

Never was mortal placed in a fairer grave 
than that which Ivor made among the desolate 
mountains of Wales for Betty Barebones. 

It was down near the cottage wall in the 
shelter of projecting cliflfs, and crags, and, as he 
laid the poor old body to rest in its snowy grave, 
for shroud he placed her AVelsh flannel apron upon 
her breast, there to remain until the mountain 
fastnesses and sheep-walks were released from 
winter's thraldom. 

Looking down for the last time upon the wan 
and upturned features, the desolation of the place, 
its solemn grandeur, and the painful loneliness of 
the death scene seemed suddenly to pass away, 
and the words from the Revelation came back to 
Ivor's memory: " God shall ivipe away all tears 
from their eyes : and there shall he no more 
death, neither sorroiv, nor crying, neither shall 
there he any more pain ! " 

When Ivor returned to Llanwddyn, the 

1 5 8 The Flight of the Merly 


shadows of the early twilight were falling across 
the frozen snow^, and the welcome lights of the 
farm were as friendly beacons to tlie shipwrecked 
mariner. The cowboy told his story in solemn 
silence, while tears rained in showers from the 
eyes of all who listened. 

Snow fell almost continually for fourteen days 
after Betty's death, and it was April before any 
attempt could be made to reach the ruined cottage 
among the mountains. Even then, the snow 
remained in many places, and still covered Betty 
Barebones' remains. 

May, with its sunshine and songs of birds, 
came, and then the men ascended the mountains, 
at the foot of which a large funeral procession 
w^aited for the coming of the body of Betty 
Barebones, who w^as buried with her husband in 
the little village churchyard. 

Five hundred pounds were found where Betty 
said three hundred were stored, and Ivor, who 
was advised by his master, kept the sum he 
promised to take, and gave the remainder to the 
old w^oman's next of kin. Ivor the cowboy set 
himself up in a small farm near Llanwddyn, 
and years afterwards his eldest son became 
an earnest and hard-workiuo; minister of the 
" Corph," as the Calvinistic Methodists are called 
in Wales. 

According to poor old Betty Barebones' pro- 



pbecy, the ancient Llanwddyn was demolished, 
and the phice where it once stood is submerged 
beneath the Vyrnvvy Waterworks — that huge 
artificial lake from which Liverpool receives its 
daily supply. 

ICbe fiDan of tbe fIDoat Ibouse, 

E lived alone, and gloried in it. His 
home was called the " Moat House/' 
and that name it bears to this day, 
though nobody knows why, because there does 
not appear to be a vestige of a moat near the 

In his Moat House he reigned supreme as 
an absolute monarch, and when they told him 
that Oliver Cromwell, having already made 
turmoil in England, was about to proceed to 
Wales, Michael Giles exclaimed, " More's the 
shame for him — a Welshman — to try and beat 
Welshmen ! But never fear. The Royalists and 
the Roundheads will pass by little Lisworney." 

So he leaned back in his chair, and enjoyed him- 
self like a king. He ate and drank alone, worked 
and rested alone, and declared that he never 
suffered from bodily ache or mental pain, simply 

because his life was unruffled by a companion. 

1 60 

Living Alone i6i 

When the old women came around offerinor 


their herb infusions, he would laugh heartily at 
them, and say, " If you want to live well and 
long — live alone. 'Tis livin' with other people 
an' bein' bothered with 'em that brino^s on the 
indigestion an' the black bile an' the rheums. 
Here am I, as happy as the lark, and as rich as 
I wish to be, an' all because — I live alone ! " 

People who were allow^ed to go so far as the 
threshold of the Moat House said it was spot- 
lessly clean, just as if '' a woman kept it." 

When this remark reached the ears of Michael 
Giles, he said, " Some men be tidier than women. 
As a rule, women is much like peas in a pod : 
there's no tellin which is the best till you come 
to shell 'em, and then like enough you'll find 
the bigger the pod the fewer the peas. So you 
mustn't judge a woman by the outside nor the 
threshold of her house. Sometimes the finer 
the windows the bigger the cobwebs." 

Michael farmed for himself. He had never 
been known to have hired help in his lifetime. 
His dairy-work, house-work, and farm-work 
were performed single-handed. He drove his 
own flocks to market, and there sold them, and 
as a purchaser he had the reputation of being 
a hard-bargain driver. He had been known to 
take his cattle thrice to Cardifi" market, and 
brino' them back ag^ain, because of the diff'erence 


i62 The Man of the Moat House 

of sixpence ; for ^Yhicll the country people would 
call after him, " Thee'lt need to shoe thy cattle, 
to go long distances for the splitting of a hair." 

Michael Giles only laughed, and would answer, 
" Perhaps in the long run it would pay to have 
them shod. Worse things than that have been 

His house, or as much of it as should be seen, 
was clean ; his garden was well kept, and his 
farm was always in an orderly condition ; but he 
had many peculiarities, as might be expected. 

One of his whims was to strew the floors with 
leaves, whereat the good people of Lisworney 

Michael, seeing no laughing matter in tliat, 
said, " What could be more beautiful than fresh 
leaves and woodland flowers in spring-time and 
summer : brown bramble leaves and ferns in 
autumn, and fragrant pine spikes in winter ? 
Are they not nature's carpets, and better than 
those supplied by the hand of man ?" 

" Now, Michael," said the lord of the manor, 
'' what would you tell King Charles if he came 

The lord of the manor was a staunch Royalist. 

"Tell the king?" said Michael. "I'd tell 
him that if he'd learnt the way to reign 
alone, he'd have had no trouble. 'Tis company 
that brings trouble. An if the king was to 

Michael Giles 163 

come here, I 'd not let bim put foot over my 
threshold unless he begged permission." 

" What would you tell Cromwell ? " asked the 

'' The very same thing. Only I would add 
to Cromwell, that more's the shame for him, 
a Welshman, to try an' beat an buffet his 

The lord of the manor rode away. 

"Men that live alone are generally morose, 
but " remarked the parson of Lisworney. 

" Do I look morose ? " interrupted the man of 
the Moat House. 

"Nay, nay, as I was going to remark, I " 

said the parson. 

" Do I talk like a morose man ? " asked 

"Nay, nay, friend," readied the parson. 

''I'm no friend of thine," said Michael, "for 
thou'rt both morose in looks an' in talk." 

The parson smiled and walked on. 

" There's nothin' like livin' alone," said Michael 
to a neighbour. " If one has a quarrel with 
oneself, it can't become the talk of the village. 
When I count up my money, there's nobody to 
look on through keyholes and cracks, an' when 
I sit down to have my food, there's nobody to 
say it isn't done to satisfaction. When I laugh, 
I enjoy it alone. AVhen I sing, I'm all alone, 

164 The Man of the Moat House 

an' there's nobody to say I am out of tune. An' 
when I do — which is seldom — run down any- 
body, I do it alone, an there's nobody to 

His panacea for all the ills of life was to — live 

As time passed political matters were getting 
more complicated, and it was necessary for the 
Royalists to form an organisation in order to 
support the king and resist the enemy. 

The lord of the manor called upon Michael 
Giles to ask his assistance. 

"I'll give thee no aid," said Michael. "But 
come in and sit down, an' we'll talk the matter 


The lord of the manor entered. 

"I've never asked thy aid, or the king's yet," 
said Michael, " an' what's more, I never intend 
to while I've breath in my body. I've lived 
alone all my lifetime, an' mean to as long as I 

Then he laughed heartily. 

" I don't understand how you can be so happy," 
said the lord of the manor. 

" Why, sir, that's easily understood," said 
Michael " I've nobody to ruffle my temper, 
nobody to oppose my wishes, nobody to frus- 
trate my designs, nobody to thwart my inten- 
tions, an' nobody to say ' No ' to me ! " 

The Lo7'd of the Manor 165 

The lord of the manor went away, wishing he 
too lived alone ! 

" I fear me there are dangers ahead," said a 
neighbour, a little later on, when news came 
that Cromwell was in Cardiff. 

" P'rhaps so, but they'll never come to little 
Lisworney," said Michael. 

" But s'pose the troops did come here," said 
the neighbour. " They'd ransack the place an 
p'rhaps turn us out of house an home." 

" Wait till they do come," was Michael's 
reply. " Living alone hath made me hopeful. 
I've nothing to fear, nobody to trouble me, an' 
little to lose." 

But the day came, when the lord of the manor 
and other gentlemen had to seek the aid of every 
man in the neighbourhood, and they claimed, 
almost pressed, Michael's assistance. 

The man of the Moat House flatly refused, and 
the others had to ^o without him. 

During the absence of all the men in the 
neighbourhood but the parson and himself, 
Michael became the protector of Lisworney. In 
that capacity he acted like a veteran Field 
Marshal, and, with keen eye, closely watched all 
who came in or passed through the village. 

One day a small party of Eoyalist soldiers 
trooped in, and during Michael's temporary 
absence in the fields, entered the Moat House. 

1 66 The Man of the Moat House 

Seeing from a distance tbeir movements, 
Michael promptly returned, and ordered them 
out of his house. This they refused to do, and 
declared their intention of remaining there as 
long as they thought fit. 

" I'll make ye clear out," said Michael. 

The men laughed, and, leaning back in their 
chairs, ate and drank the best of everything in 
the house. 

" How wilt thee do it ? " asked one. 

" Thee'lt see how, time enough," answered 

^' By means of a watch-dog ? " 

" Nay," answered the man of the Moat House. 

" By means of firearms ? " queried another. 

''Nay," said Michael. ''What good would 
one firearm be as^ainst six ? " 

" By burning clown the house ? " asked another. 

" Nay ; I would not ruin my property for 
such little sakes as thine," said Michael, with a 
touch of scorn. " And would ye all willingly sit 
down to be burnt alive ! No, no. Ill use more 
effectual means to clear ye out of my house, an' 
save your skins too." 

The men laughed at his threat, and in fun 
waited to see what means he had at hand for 
ejecting them. 

In the room in which the soldiers reo^aled 
themselves there were three doors, one of which 

A Siege of Bees ! 167 

led upstairs, aud the other opened into the dairy. 
The third was the parlour door. Without attract- 
ing attention, Michael Giles went out through 
one door, and made a slight noise upstairs, then 
descending as quietly as possible he went into 
the back yard, took a hive of bees, and crept 
behind the settle. Then quickly turning the 
hive over, he gave the bees their freedom. Like 
a dense cloud they swarmed the room, and be- 
seiged the intruders. With great difficulty, and 
not without severe stings either, the soldiers 
rushed out of the kitchen into the open air, only 
to be followed by the persistent bees. In pain 
and misery, with swollen faces, eyes, and hands, 
the men mounted their horses and hastened 
away anywhere from Lis worn ey. 

Not without a parting shot from Michael Giles, 
who at the top of his voice shouted, " I found 
effectual means of getting rid of ye all. There's 
nothino^ better than a sieofe of bees ! " 

The event became the talk of the country- 
side, and the people declared in jokeful fashion, 
''There's nothino^ like bees for drivinsf enemies 

A few weeks before the great battle of St. 
Fagan's, the lord of the manor came begging 
Michael Giles to accompany them to Cowbridge, 
where all the Royalists were to assemble, in 
order to proceed to the scene of conflict. 

1 68 The Man of the Moat House 

''It's your duty to come," said the lord of 
the manor. 

'' I call it my duty to remain at home," said 
Michael determinedly. " I've always lived alone, 
never had a companion, and why should I go 
out amongst others ? No, I'll stay at home, and 
mind the Moat House and Lisworney." 

He remained true to bis post, and waited 
anxiously for news of the great and terrible 
battle fought at St. Fagan's, after which the 
Parliamentary forces did much damage in and 
around the neighbourhood of Cowbridge. 

One evening in May, soon after the Battle 
of St. Fagan's, a party of Parliamentary soldiers 
rode into Lisworney. 

Michael Giles, like a Field Marshal, imme- 
diately spied them. 

Seeing the stalwart Welshman, the leader of 
the party rode up to him. 

" We would fain rest awhile," said Captain 
Garland, "and have what private provision we 
can. Will you direct us ? " 

This was spoken in a tone of such refined 
courtesy, that Michael Giles, even though a 
Koyalist himself, was much touched. Honour 
be to the magnanimity of the Welsh Royalist, 
he immediately conducted them to his own Moat 
House, and regaled the cajDtain and his men with 
the best provisions he had in his possessioD. 

Captain Garland 169 

Then Michael Giles discovered that the leader 
of the band was no other than the well-known 
Captain Garland, who was mentioned in Colonel 
Horton's despatches to the War Department. 

Captain Garland and his men halted at Lis- 
worney for the night, and early the next morning 
took their departure for Bridgeud. Before going, 
the captain ordered his men to give three ring- 
ing cheers for "Master Michael Giles, of the 
Moat House, Lisworney, and may he live long 
and prosper ! " And the men cheered to an 

" He'll prosper as long as he lives alone ! " 
shouted Michael, whereupon all the soldiers 
laughed heartily. 

" I crave a boon before you go," said Michael, 
resting his hand on Captain Garland's horse. 

" Anything you may wish to name," said the 
captain, '' and it is in my power to give." 

" I crave thy gauntlets," said Michael. 

'•' And you shall have them," replied the cap- 
tain, forthwith handing them to MicLael, who 
promptly returned thanks for the boon. 

Tiie Koyalists then rode away, and long after 
the civil war was over, Michael Giles would 
tease and taunt his own party, by saying, " The 
Roundheads paid for their place with a pair of 
gauntlets; but, for their insolence, I paid the 
Royalists with bees ! " 

170 The Man of the Moat House 

In the course of time Michael Giles was 
gathered to his fathers, but, about forty years 
ago a gauntlet, containing coin of various reigns, 
was found in the thatched roof of the Moat 

ZTbe Xab^ of tbe Xake 

RYNAOH AP HOWEL, a prince of 
Montgomery, was in a gloomy mood. 
His lands were fair, Lis flocks were 
large, his herds were vast, and his palace near 
Welshpool was very beautiful. 

Yet, he was a man with a grievance. His fair 
domain must fall into the hands of an enemy, 
unless Owain, bis son, married a rich woman. 

Unfortunately all the pretty princesses of 
Montgomery were very poor, while tlie only rich 
women were Gwenllian of Craig-y-Mwyn, who 
was already promised in marriage, and 01 wen of 

Owain ap Brynach was one of the most hand- 
some men in Montgomery — a kind-hearted 
neighbour, and one of the best huntsmen in 
Wales. He knew his father's grievance, and 
put off the evil day as' long as he possibly could. 

But there was no help for him. The beautiful 

172 The Lady of the Lake 

maidens of Montgomery were poor, and Olwen 
of Carno possessed untold wealth. At last they 
were married, and the estates were saved. 

01 we II was old enough to be wain's grand- 
mother, and her figure was bent and bowed with 
extreme age. Her parchment-coloured skin was 
wrinkled, crows' feet surrounded her eyes, and 
her lij)S were thin and compressed. 

Day after day Owain, as he sat down to the 
banquet, grieved bitterly over his condition. 
What was the good of all the wealth in the 
world and no happiness ? Like a skeleton in a 
cupboard was Olwen to him, and as time passed, 
the worse matters grew. He disliked her at first, 
he hated her in the end. 

When in a maddened mood Owain, without 
a word to Olwen, would angrily stride out of the 
banqueting-hall, and go away hunting. It was 
only in the chase he found any pleasure now. 

Sometimes he wandered listlessly through the 
pleasant woodlands, where he sought, but always 
failed, to find solace for his heart-ache. 

One day, when he was more than usually 
gloomy in mind, he threw himself upon a mossy 
bank in the woodlands, and there, half asleep 
and half awake, he mused over his condition. 
Overhead, the interlaced branches of the trees 
waved gently but solemnly to and fro. Around 
him, the white anemones quivered in soft summer 

Ozvain ap Brynach 173 

air, and away in the distance the blue-bells 
looked like a sea of azure. Slowly through the 
long and natural woodland avenue a lovely 
maiden came. As she drew near, Owain observed 
that her face was fair and extremely beautiful. 
Long golden hair fell in profusion far below her 
waist. Her hands were like the white anemones, 
and her lips were red as the summer rose. She 
came quite close to him, so that he could 
almost touch her robes. Her eyes were like 
violets orleaminor darklv under the lonor-frinfjed 

At last she spoke. 

" You are sad," she said, in bewitching accents. 

" I am," he replied. 

'' And why ? " 

" Because I am tied for life to an ugly 
partner," said Owain, as the maiden sat beside 

" Why don't you get rid of her?" asked the 
beauty wickedly. 

'' Because it is written, ' Thou shalt do no 
murder,' " replied Owain, who thereupon poured 
forth a torrent of laments to the lady who so 
enthralled him. 

" I must go," said the maiden. 

Owain besought her to stay, but she would not 

" I'll come again to-morrow ! " she cried gaily 
and then vanished. 

174 T^he Lady of the Lake 

Day after clay Owain and tlie beautiful 
maiden met, until at length the prince deter- 
mined to marry her. 

But how was he to get rid of his ugly 
wife ? 

Even the beautiful maiden could not suggest 
any better or more effectual metliod than — 
murder ! 

One day Owain strode angrily homeward, 
and was in a sufficiently mad state of mind 
to thrust his sword there and then through his 
ugly wife's heart. Accor<lingly he went to her 
room, but she was not there. He searched the 
palace from battlement to basement, but she 
could not be found. 

Where the ugly 01 wen was gone nobody 
knew, and nobody cared. 

Forthwith Owain went for his new and 
beautiful bride, whom he brought to the palace 
amid much rejoicing. 

Henceforth life was like a summer of delight. 

There was only one mystery about the fair 
lady. She agreed to become wain's wife only 
on one condition. On the eve of every seventh 
day from the date of marriage she was to go 
away, and not be asked whither she went or 
what she did. The lovely lady then added — 
" If you agree to this your riches shall increase, 
your wine shall never fail, and my beauty will 

The BeatUif2il Bride i 7 5 

never wane. But, if you once begin to doubt 
me or oppose my wishes — 

" Rushes and reeds, both rank and tall. 
Shall flourish in Owain's stately hall, 
And all that now may be therein 
Shall sink in the waters of a llyn ! " (lake). 

Owain agreed, and the long years passed joy- 
ously. His bride still retained her wonderful 
beauty. Her violet eyes were as bright and 
clear as ever ; her complexion was as fair as when 
Owain first saw her, and in her long golden tresses, 
not a single thread of silver could be found. 

With the flight of time Owain, growing old 
and careworn and wrinkled, noticed with a touch 
of jealousy, how marvellously his wife retained 
her wonderful youth and beauty. He grew 
querulous and fretful, and was troubled with 
visions. His mind reverted to Olwen's mys- 
terious disappearances, and he pondered deeply 
about his beautiful bride's strange absences. 

It was a dull and gloomy day in December. 
Not a gleam of sunshine could be seen, and the 
leaden sky promised snow. A bitter biting 
wind whistled through the bare branches of the 
stately trees in the park, and with every gust, 
the last remaininor dead leaves whirled around 


the palace porch. 

In the early twilight, when the logs were 

176 The Lady of the Lake 

glowing brightly on the hearth, and the hounds, 
resting at their master's feet, started in their 
dreams, Owain's wife entered the great hall. 
She was richly robed, and jewels sparkled on 
her fingers, around her neck, and in her golden 
hair. She looked more beautiful aud youthful 
than ever. On her arm she carried an outer 
and hooded garment of silk lined with costly 
furs, and Owain knew what it meant to see her 
attired thus. It was the eve of the mysterious 
seventh day. 

" It is very cold," remarked Owain. 

" Yes," replied his wife with a slight shiver. 

"I fear we shall have snow," said Owain. 
" The sky is dark, and the wind is bitingly 

" It is," meekly murmured the fair lady. 

*' It is not fit for man or beast out this eve, 
much less for a fair lady," continued Owain, 
impatiently kicking one of the burning embers 
on the hearth. 

The violet eyes glowed with a strange un- 
earthly light as the lady answered — 

" You remember the promise ! Don't ask me 
to break it unless 3^ou wish 

" Rushes and reeds, both rank and tall. 
To flourish in Owain's lordly hall. 
And all that now may be therein 
To sink in the waters of a llyn ! " 

Wylan the Monk 177 

Owain frowned, and looked gloomily into the 

" It is getting late," said his wife. ^' I must go." 

She had not long been gone, when snow began 
to fall, and in an hour's time the park and the 
fair lands around the palace were white and 

Owain impatiently strode up and down the 
hall. He was in an unusually gloomy mood, 
and could hardly restrain himself from putting 
a watch upon his wife. But he feared the conse- 
quences, although he fretted sorely about his 
wife's absences, and her perpetual beauty. 

Absorbed in these thoughts, Owain did not 
observe the presence of his dearest friend. 

Into the lordly hall, Wylan the monk had 
come silently, and with almost stealthy tread. 

"Thou art sad, my son," remarked Wylan. 

" That I am," replied Owain. 

" And almost too pre-occupied to receive thy 
friend with kindly greeting," remarked the 

" AVylan ! " exclaimed Owain harshly and im- 
patiently, " I am tired of all this." 

" All what, my son ? " queried the monk. 

"All these goings on," was the reply. 

" Of whom ? " asked AVylan. 

" Of my wife, of course," said Owain. 

" It can't be helped ; and, moreover, she tells 

178 The Lady of the Lake 

you what the consequences would be if she failed 
to keep her tryst," said Wylaii. 

" I verily believe I am united to an evil 
spirit," said Owain angrily. 

" Perhaps so," calmly remarked the monk. 

" She will never grow old, and that's myste- 
rious," continued Owain. 

" It is," responded Wylan. 

" She has not lost a tooth, or obtained a single 
grey hair, and she's sixty, if she's a-day by now," 
said Owain. 

"Quite so," provokingly said Wylan. 

" I am tired of her beauty," continued Owain. 
"One wouldn't like the moon to be always 

" Certainly not," said Wylan. 

" What can I do \ " asked Owain. 

The monk paused for answer. 

Meantime it must be said that Wylan, the 
monk and relisiious man, coveted his neis^hbour's 

" I have an answer for thee," said Wylan, as 
the two friends seated themselves besides the fire 
on the hearth. 

"And what is the answer ? " asked Owain 

" Resign thy fair wife to me, with as much 
wine, and sufiicient of thy flocks and herds, as 
may be needed by the monks of yon monastery. 

The Llanymynach Rocks 1 79 

Without the flocks and herds, without the wine, 
I will not take thy lady/' 

"Agreed," exclaimed Owain. 

Then the friends parted company. 

That night Wylan the monk crossed the park, 
but not towards the monastery. His pathway 
was in another direction. He sought the Llany- 
mynach Kocks, and the far-famed Cave of Ogof, 
where the devil was supposed to hold terrible 
orgies. The monk invoked the fiend, and pro- 
mised to give him his own soul, if only Owain's 
wife should become his. To this, the legend says, 
the devil .was quite agreeable. 

At some distance from the Cave of Ogof there 
stood a cross, which is known in the present day 
as " Croeswylan," or the Cross of Wylan. 

The devil promised the monk that, if he went 
to the cross on the eve of the next day, Owain's 
wife should be his. But there was a conditiou. 
Wylan must legally, and in proper order, marry 
the lady. 

The eve of the seventh day came, and, as usual, 
Owain's wife went to keep her tryst. 

Wylan the monk went to keep his tryst at the 
cross. According to the devil's promise, the 
beautiful lady appeared. Jewels S[)arkled on her 
white fingers, around her neck, and in her golden 
hair, and she was enveloped in her flame-coloured 
silken outer garment, lined with costly furs. 

i8o The Lady of the Lake. 

In order to make the marriage proper and 
legal to the satisfaction of the devil, Wylan 
had invited a neighbouring priest to perform the 

At the conclusion of the marriage service, a 
loud rumbling: noise was heard in the Cave of 
Ogof; thunder pealed in the wintry heavens, 
and forked lightnings darted from the gloomy 

Wylan shuddered, and hurried his bride home- 
ward. The lady gathered her hooded robe closely 
around her, for the night was bitterly cold, and 
they had to walk to the monastery. 

Wylan, accompanied by his wife, entered the 
great hall, where, when the lady threw off her 
cloak, a mystery was revealed. 

There, before all the brotherhood, stood Wylan's 
bride, wain's lost wife 01 wen. 

Horror of horrors ! Instead of the beautiful 
woman who had graced wain's lordly banquet- 
inof-hall, there stood the toothless and crooked- 
back hag who had mysteriously disappeared from 
the palace. 

Wylan was outwitted. 

He had wain's aged wife, the flocks and herds, 
the wine also, and, to make matters worse, he had 
parted with his soul for — the hag Olwen. 

In the thunderstorm the foundations of the 
palace of Brynach ap Howel fell to the earth, 

Lake Llynclys 

and Owain, with all his household, perished, and 
soon afterwards — 

" Rushes and reeds, both rank and tall, 
Flourished in wain's lordly hall, 
And everybody that was therein 
Sank deep in the waters of a Uyn ! " 

Where the palace stood a small pool or lake 
may now be seen. It is called the Pool or Lake 
of Llynclys. 

At one time the people of the neighbourhood 
firmly believed, that when the waters were dear 
enough the tow^ers of the buried pakice could 
be seen. 

Unfortunately the day has yet to come when 
the darksome waters of Lake Llynclys shall be 
clear ! 

Sweet X^bia ifell 


HEN it was announced by the deacon 
that Joshua Morgan, '^ a man from 
Abergele in the North," was to preach 
in Bethel in the South, there was quite a stir in 
the chapel. 

" Who is he 'i " whispered one man to another. 

" Don't know," was the rejoly. 

" Have you ever heard him ? " asked one aged 
woman of her neighbour. 

" No, not I," was the answer. 

" Is he young 1 " asked the girls, almost in a 
breath, as they fluttered up to Rhys Eobert, 
the " leader of the singing." 

" Well," said Rhys, slowly and deliberately, 
in his usual provoking way, " Well — I did hear 
— him — sinf^ino; — when he was — let me see — 
'bout eighteen — I should think — and " 

" He's 'bout sixty-six now, I s'pose," inter- 
rupted one of the girls. 

Joshua Morgan 183 

" Wait — till i do — tell you/' continued Ehys, 
slower if possible than before. " You gells do — 
want to — jump — down a man's — throat. Joshua 
— Morgan — did sing — well, there then—like 
a ^" 

" Angel," put in another girl. 

" No," said Ehys ; " no such — thing. He 

did sing " 

"Hoof to the man," exclaimed an impatient 
girl. "Out with it. You do drive us mad, 
waitin' so long. If you don't tell soon, I'm 

" Well," continued Rhys, " the long — and 
short — of it — he did sing — like a l-a-e-k," said 
Rhys, spelling the word. 

" If he did sing like a lark at eighteen, how do 
he sing now % " asked one of the elderly women. 

" Like a crow, now, I s'pose," said one of the 
girls, saucily tossing her head. 

" I'll find out all 'bout him 'fore this time to- 
morrow," said Gwladys, Rhys Robert's daughter. 

" Not you," said Mary Jenkin of the Shop, as 
the girls separated, some going homeward and 
others going to join their sweethearts. 

All the unmarried women of Quakers' Yard 
were quite excited about the "man from the 

Lydia Fell heard about the preacher, though 
she did not attend Bethel, for Rachel David, 

184 Szveet Lydia Fell 

cousin to the pretty Quakeress, brought the 

" Joslina Morgan of Abergele," remarked 
Lydia Fell, musing awhile. "Thy mother, 
Dinah Fell formerly, Dinali David now, and my 
father, Zebedee Fell, were first cousins to Abi- 
gail Fell, wdio married John Morgan of Abergele." 

'' Have you ever seen Joshua Morgan ?" asked 
Each el. 

" Not since I was quite a child," said Lydia. 

'' What was he like then ? " 

"A very fine and beautiful boy of about four- 
teen, and I was nine." 

"Oh!" said Eachel absently, while mentally 
calculating the minister's age. " Then he is only 
about thirty-six now ? " 

" Yes," said Lydia. '^ That is all." 

"Is he dark or fair?" 

" Dark, with very black curly hair, and dark 
glowing eyes. If Joshua Morgan has grown up, 
as he promised, he must now be handsome — 
very," said the Quakeress. 

Lydia Fell was the only daughter of Zebedee 
Fell, a member of the Society of Friends. Zebe- 
dee's grandmother, Lydia Fell, was the owner of 
the northern portion of the Llanfabon estate. 
When a burial-place for the Friends was neces- 
sary in the neighbourhood, Lydia Fell gave a 
piece of land for the purpose in the year 1670, or 

Quakers Yard 185 

1680. The village now known as Quakers' Yard 
takes its name from the ancient resting-place of 
long departed Friends. 

Zebedee Fell lived upon a small independency 
inherited from his grandmother, but the former 
wealth of the family dwindled to a mere nothing 
with the flight of time. Zebedee and Lydia 
were the last survivinsf of a long race bearino^ 
the name of Fell. All the others were married 
out of the fraternity, and their names \vere lost 
among Welsh families. 

When Zebedee heard that Joshua Moro^an was 
coming to Quakers' Yard, he said, "Thou must 
see the young man, and if he will not sojourn 
with us, maybe he will break bread here. 
Dost thou hear what I say, Lydia ? " 

" Yes, father," replied Lydia. 

The aged man, dressed in the sad-coloured 
clothes common to the fraternit}', rested on his 
staff, which, from father to son, had descended 
through long generations. For a time he mused 
in silence, and sighed deeply. 

Then he asked, " When is the young man 
expected ? " 

" On the sixth day." 

''' Go and see thy Aunt Dinah about it, and 
tell her what I say." 

Lydia's Aunt Dinah was the wife of Deacon 
David of Bethel. 

1 86 Sweet Lydia Fell 

It was arranoed between Dinah and her niece 


Lydia that Joshua Morgan was to be the 
Deacon's guest, but the bread-breaking was to 
be left to the young minister's inclination. 

In a few hours the girls in Quakers' Yard had 
heard all about " the man from the North," and 
eagerly looked forward to his coming. 

At length the sixth day came, and the minister 

He came in the April twilight, when the land 
was dim and shadowy. Through the soft and 
balmy evening air the young man saw the cherry 
blossoms glimmering like stars, those of the pear 
falling like snow-flakes in the orchards, and the 
pink and white petals clustered upon the 
branches of the apple trees that drooped down 
almost to the verge of the silvery Taff. 

Although here and there, a girl modestly con- 
cealed herself behind the purple lilacs or under 
the orchard trees, not one could boast of having 
seen more than the shadowy outline of the 
minister's fio;ure sit tin 2: beside Deacon David in 
the o'iof. 

Dinah David came to the doer to welcome her 
nephew, and Eachel peeping shyly on from the 
end of the passage. Instead of the short and 
thick-set man she expected to see, there appeared 
a tall and stately minister. 

Joshua Morgan of Abergele w^as a stalwart 

Aiint Dinah David 187 

and handsome man, standing six feet in his 
stockings — and in those days much attention 
was attracted by masculine legs and feminine 
feet and ankles. Fine legs with ample calves, 
gave a man a better footing in society, than his 
neighbour who possessed thin and lean limbs. 
For that reason men with poor legs frequently 
adopted false calves. This practice caused some 
people's legs to be regarded as impostors when 
they were really hona fide. Feminine feet and 
ankles fared better. There was no dis^ruise for 
them. Big feet may be crushed into shoes a 
size too small, but then the ankles w^ould bube 
out and reveal the cramping. In those days 
women wore clogs and pattens, and the pretty 
foot looked prettier still in low shoes, to which 
dainty pattens were strapped. And women then 
were very proud of their highly-polished pattens, 
which kept the feet so nicely out of the mire 
and clay. 

To return to Joshua Moroan. His fine leofs 
were encased in drab g^aiters when he arrived 


and was conducted by Aunt Dinah to his room. 
When he reappeared, the gaiters had been re- 
moved, and as he entered the parlour Dinah 
David mentally remarked, "What a handsome 
man — what splendid feet and legs ! " 

Joshua Morgan wore knee-breeches, fine white 
stockings — such as gentlemen only wore in those 

1 SS Sweet Lydia Fell 

days — low shoes with plain silver buckles, and a 
cutaway coat. His linen was frilled, and his 
dark, thick, and naturally curly hair was tied at 
the back with black ribbon. 

" He's quite the gentleman," thought Deacon 
David, as he greeted his nephew-in-law. 

Joshua made himself thoroughly at home, and 
when Dinah, introducing her daughter, said, 
"This is thy cousin," the minister, taking the 
outstretched hand, said tenderly and slowly, 
" Kachel, Each el, for whom one waited through 
weary years ! " 

A thrill of pleasure speeded through Rachel's 

Joshua's voice was so tenderly sweet, so 
musically clear, and yet by no means effemi- 
nate. It was strong and powerful, but governed 
according to the necessities of time and circum- 

After a substantial supper Deacon David 
settled down in his old arm-chair, and, taking 
out two pipes, offered the minister one. 

" Thank you," said Joshua ; "I never smoke." 

" What a nice man," mused Eachel. 

" Thy father smoked," said Aunt Dinah. 

" He would smoke against my mother's wishes. 
Ever since his death my mother will not allow 
pipes or smoking in the house." 

" Ah ! " sighed Dinah, as one before whom the 

Welcomed by the Fells 189 

long gone years passed in review. " Time hath 
not changed thy mother, my cousin Abigail." 

"And never will," responded the minister. 

" As thou dost not smoke," remarked the 
Deacon, ''perhaps thou would'st like to go and 
see thy uncle Zebedee Fell. Dinah, wilt thou 
go with Joshua ? " 

Aunt Dinah assented. 

" What about society afiPairs ? " asked Joshua. 

'' They'll keep till thee dost come back," said 
the Deacon. 

Eachel accompanied her mother's cousin to 
Zebedee Fell. 

The candles had only just been lighted, when 
'' the man from the North " entered and was 
warmly welcomed by the Fells. 

Cheerful firelight flickered on the hearth, and 
in the ruddy glow sweet Lydia Fell looked very 
beautiful. Her neat gown of drab material and 
her snowy kerchief were highly becoming to her 
style of beauty. Soft little wisps of light golden 
brown hair persisted in straying from under the 
cap, and the deep violet eyes, with their long 
sweeping lashes, were now turned steadily and 
candidly towards Joshua, Aunt Dinah, and 
Rachel in turn. 

More than once Rachel caught Joshua gazing 
intently at Lydia, behind whom the dark wains- 
cotted wall, and the oaken side table with its 

IQO Sweet Lydia Fell 

blue china Dutch vases, looked like the back- 
ground of a beautiful picture. 

" He admires Lydia — everybody admires her," 
murmured Kachel within herself " And yet, 
she's ten years older than me." 

It was o^ettino- late, and the visitors did not 
remain long, but Zebedee and L3^dia promised 
to spend a day at the Deacon's. 

" Perhaps we shall have thy company on the 
first day of the week ? " asked Zebedee. 

Joshua looked at Aunt Dinah. 

"Do as thee dost please," said the Deacon's 

"Then I will come," said Joshua. 

" And Uncle and Aunt, and Rachel too," 
added Lydia. 

To which proposition all agreed. 

On the way home Aunt Dinah asked Joshua 
how loDg he could stay amongst them. 

" I have fourteen days to spare now," said 
Joshua, " but you would be tired of having me 
all that time." 

"Tired!" exclaimed Aunt Dinah warmly; 
" tired of dear Abigail's son ? No ; never ! " 

Joshua silently pressed his aunt's small white 
hand, in thankfulness for the warmth of her 

Deacon David was delighted to hear that 
Joshua could remain fourteen days, thus giving 

In Bethel 191 

the Bethelites the advantage of two sermon 
Sundays instead of one. 

On Sunday morning, as Joshua Morgan 
ascended the high pulpit stairs, all the girls 
present looked at him in amazement. First at 
his handsome head and face, next at his fine 
stature and "bettermost" style of dress, and 
last, but not least, at his fine feet and shapely 

But for some reason there were several un- 
believers in those leos. 

"He's got false calves," said Martha Jones of 
Llanfabon when the meetino^ ended. 

" No, no," said Mary Morris of Quakers' Yard ; 
"he's a shapely man from head to foot." 

" The man from the North" pleased the con- 
gregation beyond expression, and w^hen Joshua 
Moro^an arrived for the evening service, Bethel 
was crowded to overflowing, and people were 
willing to accept standing room. 

The sermon was grand, impressive, and the 
young minister's oratory was of the old Welsh 
order — impassioned, and glowing with flowers of 

At the end of the service the minister opened 
the pulpit door and descended a step, but found 
the stairway occupied by numbers of his fair 

They immediately moved back to allow him 

1 9 2 Sweet Lydia Fell 

just sufficient space to descend, and, as he 
moved downward, Martha Jones of Lhmfabon 
quickly and slightly pricked in succession the 
minister's calves. 

He never winced — never moved a muscle, 
but went down as though Martha Jones had not 
touched him. 

That decided the question. 

Martha Jones of Llanfabon had proved to the 
satisfaction of all the women in Quakers' Yard 
that Joshua Morgan of Abergele wore false 

" Never mind what he do wear," said one 
loyal woman, "he do preach beau-ti-ful ! " 

But next day Eachel David declared that her 
cousin said he felt the " mischievous pricks," 
though he was equal to any fun, and resolved 
"not to wince under them." 

Joshua spent Monday with Zebedee and 
Lydia, and the beauty of the Quaker maiden 
impressed him more than when he first saw 

Sweet Lydia Fell ! 

Her fair face pleasingly haunted the minister's 

Her melodious voice charmed his waking hours. 

In the afternoon of the third day of the week, 
Joshua Morgan spent several hours with Zebedee, 
but all the time wondered at Lydia's absence. 

In the Orchard 193 

He waited patiently for her coming, but she 
did not appear. 

At last, looking out through the parlour 
window, he saw Lydia returning from the fields 
and entering the orchard. 

Joshua Moigan passed down the garden path- 
way leading to the blossoming orchard, and, for 
a moment, paused beside the lilacs to look at his 

'' Sweet Lydia Fell ! " he sighed. '' Thy pre- 
sence makes this earth an Eden." 

Slowdy and thoughtfully, Lydia Fell wandered 
through the orchard. 

April sunshine, w^oven with shadows of leaf 
and blossom, fell upon her snow-white cap, 
and intensified the glory of her golden brown 

Suddenly she turned back, and seeing the 
minister, came swiftly across to greet him. 

"• I did not know that thou wert here," she 

" I know it," said Joshua. '' My uncle said 
you had gone to the fields." 

" Yes ; but had I knowai that thou wert here, 
I would not have remained so long away," she 
said, in sweet and winsome tones. 

" I am pleased to hear you say that," said 
Joshua ; " yes, pleased more than I can tell." 

'' Art thou % " asked Lydia, looking up. 

194 Sweet Lydia Fell 

Her violet eyes met her cousin's admiring 
glances, and, in that moment, the beautiful 
Quakeress, and the "man from the North" became 
conscious of a mutual though unuttered love. 

Sileutly Lydia and Joshua returned to the 
house, and presently the minister departed. 

That evening, when the apple blossoms flut- 
tered down upon Lydia Fell's clasped hands, 
only the birds singing in the laburnum branches, 
and the bees humming among the lilacs, heard 
the fair maiden saying, " The Lord knows what 
is best." 

Sweet Lydia Fell ! 

The minister remained the fourteen days, and 
then returned to Abergele in the North. 

But his love for Lydia Fell remained unuttered. 

"He will come again in the summer," thought 
Lydia. "It is well he does not act hastily. 
Words once spoken cannot be recalled." 

One day, when autumn leaves filled the deep 
valleys of North Wales, and September gales sent 
the mountainous waves rolling wildly landward 
across the sands of Abergele, Joshua Morgan 
quitted his study table, and went out for a 

Sea-mists and salt spray driven by the wind, 
came across the solitary sands, where the minister 
chose to take his walk. His head throbbed and 
his heart beat with the spirit of unrest. The 

Much Pre-occupied 195 

time had come when he could no longer conceal 
his love for Lydia Fell. 

An invitation had been received from Quakers' 
Yard, and the surrounding district, imploring 
him to preach there at Christmas time. 

Aunt Dinah pressed him to come. They had 
" such a blessed time in April," she said. 

''And 1 had too !" he responded. 

He would go — yes, he would once more go to 
Quakers' Yard, and see sweet Lydia Fell. 

But the time had come when he must tell his 
mother of his intentions, and it was in prepara- 
tion for this, that he paced the sands, and sought 
strength from the voices of the winds and the 
waves, who seemed like messengers of the Most 

When he returned home he sat on one side of 
the hearth in the twilight and firelight. His 
mother was cosily seated in her easy-chair oppo- 
site him. 

" Thee dost seem much pre-occupied," re- 
marked Abio;ail Mors^an. 

" That I am," replied the minister. 

'' And wherefore \ " questioned his mother. 

Joshua pondered for a moment. '' You know 
what God hath said," remarked Joshua, pausing. 

" It is not like my son to hesitate," said Abigail. 

" It is not good that man should be alone," 
remarked Joshua. 

196 Sweet Lydia Fell 

'•' So — so," said Abigail somewhat testily; "the 
long and short of it is, I suppose thee dost con- 
template marriage." 

'' I do," said Joshua candidly. 

" And with whom ? " asked his mother. 

'' Guess," said he. 

As Joshua was called " a lady's man," she 
knew of several fair aspirants for his heart and 

" With Miss Lloyd ? It would be a good thing 
for thee to marry her. She's worth her thou- 
sands," said Abigail. 

" Not worth half as much as the woman I 

'' Is it Miss Eobert of Ehyl ? " 

" No." 

"Miss Price of Denbigh?" 

" Wrong again." 

" Well, it must be Miss Rees of Llanwrst." 

Joshua shook his head. 

" Miss Preece of Rhuddlan % " 

" Somebody further south," said Joshua. 

Abigail pondered. 

" There was a Miss Llewelyn of Brecon thee 
wast attentive to once," said his mother. " Thee 
dost know thee'st spoken of them all to me. And 
I know for certain thee'st paid attentions to 
them all." 

"Just because they liked it, and they were 

' ' speak, I beseech you / " 197 

very attentive to me," said Joshua. " But things 
are altered now." 

'' Well, it seems to me," said Abigail, smiling, 
" ifc is reserved for the seventh woman to lay 
hold of thee, and conquer." 

Joshua — rememberiug his six flirtations — for 
all the girls loved to flirt with the handsome 
minister, laughed and said, " It seems so." 

'' And the seventh — who may she be ?" asked 

" A kinswoman of mine," he said. 

" Kachel David, daughter of my cousin Dinah?" 
guessed Abigail. " She is too young for thee." 

" No ; sweet Lydia Fell, daughter of Zebedee 
Fell," was the reply. 

A dark cloud, an angry scowl, passed over 
Abigail's face, which turned pale and ghastly 
even there, where the firelight gained mastery 
over the deepening twilight. 

^' Mother ! " exclaimed Joshua, starting back 
from his seat, and gazing at the angry and 
pallid face upturned to him. 

" Mother !" he repeated. " Speak, I beseech 

Slowly, very slowly, her lips opened, and 
briugiug the clenched fist of her right hand 
down with force upon the arm of the chair, 
Abigail, in withering tones, exclaimed, *' I would 
rather look on thy dead face — thy coffined body 

198 Sweet Lydia Fell 

— thy closed grave, than see thee the husband 
of Lydia Fell ! " 

Joshua Morgan felt stunned, and for a time 
was like one dumb. At length he remembered 
that on his return from Quakers' Yard she did 
not take any notice of his remarks about 
Zebedee Fell. 

When he recovered his voice he mustered 
courage, and said, " Mother, let me know why 
this bitter antipathy to a woman you know 
little about ? " 

'' Listen," said Abigail harshly, though now 
more composed, but still pallid in the face, and 
severe in tone. *^ Listen : When I was seven- 
teen the world held only one man for me, and 
I then believed I was the only girl on earth 
for him. He was twenty-three, and should 
have known his own mind. We loved each 
other devotedly for three years. When I was 
twenty, Dorothy Raymond, the Sassenach (Saxon) 
Quakeress, came to our home. She robbed 
me of the man I loved, and I never forgave 
her or him ! That man was my own first cousin 
— Zebedee Fell ! Three months later, I was 
married to thy father. Dorothy's eldest child 
was born the same year as thee, but it died soon. 
That was their first punishment. The second 
and third children were born, and died directly. 
They had three punishments. Thou wert six 

*' Take heed, for I mean it " 1 99 

years old when Lyclia was born, and six months 
later Dorothy Fell died. After this, wilt thou 
wish to marry Lydia Fell ? " 

" Sweet Lydia Fell !" murmured the minister. 
'' It was not her fault. Surely, mother, in the 
years that are gone, you could have buried the 
bitter past." 

''Joshua," exclaimed the relentless mother, 
" if thou dost wish to bring down my grey hairs 
with sorrow to the grave — if thou dost wish to 
bring bitterness into my dwindling life — to gall 
the end of my existence with a revival of the 
old sorrow, the old hatred — marry Lydia Fell ! 
But one thing I ask thee. Tf thou dost marry 
her, bring her not to my sight. Once she is thy 
wife, my doors are closed against thee and her." 

" Mother ! " gasped Joshua. 

Abigail once more grew white with passion, 
and going to the depth of bitterness, she con- 
tinued — " If thee dost marry Lydia Fell, not 
one penny shalt thou have after me. My doors 
shall be shut against thee; then go — go, and 
live upon the miserable pittance thou has got as 
a preacher. Hear what I say, and take heed, 
for I mean it." 

Joshua Morgan strode to his study and locked 
the door. At first he sat down by the table, 
leaned his head upon his arms, and wept as only 
a man can weep. 

200 Sweet Lydia Fell 

The struggle between duly and love was 
fierce and of long duration. 

At length duty was triumphant. He rejoiced 
that he had not told Lydia of his love. Now, 
she should never know it. 

He sought his mother, but she was nowhere 
to be found. 

He asked the servant where she was gone. 

^' Mistress is gone to her room," said the maid. 

Joshua ascended the stairs, and knocked at 
his mother's door, but he did not receive an 
answer. Turning the handle, he entered. 

His mother was laid on the bed, and looking 
more like a dead than a living body. 

^' Mother," he cried, stroking her cold hands 
and kissing her pallid face and brow. 

At first he thought she was dead, because 
the warmth of his hands failed to revive her. 
He called the maid, and asked her to biing him 
a cordial. As he wetted his mother's lips 
therewith, he told the maid to go for the 

The minutes seemed as long as hours, and yet 
no symptom of life appeared. The doctor came, 
and presently declared that the minister's mother 
was suffering from a shock to the heart. 

" She will recover," he said, "but must be 
kept very quiet, and not allowed to be excited 
in the least." 

Joshuas Vow 20 1 

Through an illness extending over many weeks, 
Joshua Morgan nursed his mother as tenderly as 
if she were a babe. At times her mind slightly 
wandered, and then she said the hateful face of 
Dorothy Fell haunted her. 

Abio^ail recovered and came downstairs aoain, 
but Josljua made a vow never to speak of mar- 
riaofe while his mother lived. 

He wrote to his uncle. Deacon David, declining 
the kind invitation to visit Quakers' Yard at 
Christmas time. In a private note to his Aunt 
Dinah he told all — screening nothing. The most 
precious part to her was where he said, '' I shall 
never marry. But tliere is only one woman in 
the world for me, and that is — sweet Lydia 

Lydia looked eagerly forward to seeing Joshua 
at the Christmas time, and when she heard that 
he declined the invitation, she wondered why. 

" He gives no reason," said Deacon David. 

" But he supposes we take it for granted that 
he could not leave his mother after so serious an 
illness. And it is a tedious journey, from the 
North to the South," said Dinah. 

" We were very thoughtless to forget Joshua's 
poor, suffering mother," said Lydia tenderly. 
j^Duty should always come first." 

And Lydia folded her hands, while she men- 
tally said, '' The Lord knows what is best." 

202 Sweet Lydia Fell 

" If she only knew the truth," said Aunt 
Dinah mentally. " But it is better sbe should 
not. Her thoughts about Joshua's mother are 
pure and good, and I am truly thankful that 
Lydia Fell is in no way like Abigail Morgau." 

Years passed. 

Joshua never went to the South again. 

Time and stern duty soothed,, if they did not 
heal, his wounds of sorrow, and he went about 
preaching as of old. 

He settled down into confirmed bachelorhood, 
and enjoyed the mild attentions of the six 
ladies who had "set their caps " at him, but, 
in turn, each got married, and it was left 
for them to amusingly remind him of his 
" willow cap." 

Joshua Morgan had been keeping appoint- 
ments in Montgomeryshire, and the last place 
against his name in " the publication" was hill- 
encircled Llanidloes, where, after the service, he 
found himself snow-bound. Locomotion over 
the hills was impossible, and foot-passengers 
were unable to reach even the nearest villages 
because of the deep and dangerous snow- 

In the ruddy glow of the firelight, as the 
gloaming deepened into darkness, Joshua Morgan 

Joshua! s Reverie 203 

sat alone, moodily watchiug the fast falling 

He heard the sonorous tickino^ of the old clock 
in the hall, the purring of the cats on the hearth, 
and now and again, faintly from the distance, 
came sounds of active housewifery. 

Outside, as the twilight merged into early 
night, all was snowy and frigid — inside all was 
warm, cosy, and glowing. 

Joshua's reverie was disturbed by a rapping 
at the door, and his partly audible " Come in " 
had an immediate response. 

He looked around. 

There, standing beside him, was Miss Lloyd of 

"You here?" he asked in amazement. 

" Didn't you know I came yesterday ? " she 
said, sitting down in the arm-chair. 

Another rap at the door, and Miss Roberts of 
Rhyl entered. 

Joshua looked bewildered, as he o^reeted the 
new arrival, who, after shaking hands with him, 
took a seat beside him. 

By-and-by Miss Price of Denbigh, Miss 
Llewelyn of Brecon, Miss Preece of Rliuddlan, 
and Miss Rees of Llanwrst, entered. 

All these ladies at the same time in Llanid- 
loes ! 

It puzzled the minister's brain. 

204 Sweet Lydia Fell 

Then Joshua thought to himself, " Perhaps 
they happen to be visiting the town just now, 
and, knowing I am snow-bound, have kindly 
come to look after me, for the sake of old 

Aloud, he thanked them for their kindness 
in coming, especially ''in such weather." 

The ladies almost simultaneously smiled and 
bowed. There sat they who, in the years gone 
by, had been so "attentive to the minister," 
and with whom he had so willingly flirted. 

Joshua Morgan was embarrassed. 

He endeavoured to talk, but to no purpose, 
and seeing the ladies appeared to be preoccupied, 
Joshua relapsed into silence, hoping that soon 
his kindly hostess would come and explain 

Suddenly, a gust like a hurricane rattled the 
windows, and the door flew open. 

Joshua shut it, and then went back to his 
deep and cosy arm-chair. 

For a few moments he closed his eyes, and 
when he reopened them the ladies had vanished, 
and in their stead beside him stood Lydia 
Fell ! 

Yes ; there she was, smiling and as beautiful 
as ever. 

In the ruddy fire glow her fair face looked 
radiant with joy. Her violet eyes, with their 

After Long Years 205 

long sweeping lashes, were bright and undimmed, 
and her golden brown hair showed no traces of 
the touch of time. 

How lovely she looked, with her pretty hair 
nestling around her forehead, and in some places 
escaping from under her cap. Her snowy-white 
kerchief was, as of old, folded over her bosom, 
and the folds of her neat drab dress fell softly 
around her fioure. 

Sweet Lydia Fell ! 

The past revived, the present faded wholly 
away, as Joshua, after long years of heart agony 
and sorrow, clasped his lost love in his arms, 
and kissed her. 

" Come, come quickly," whispered Lydia. 
"There is no time to be lost. Oh, Joshua, 
Joshua, thy mother is dying ! " 

'• My mother dying ? " he said in broken 

" Yes, and she would see thee before she goes 
hence. Come, I beseech thee, come." 

In the hour of sad tidings and sorrow the 
minister's heart went back to the past, and, 
as he once more clasped sweet Lydia in his 
arms, whether the message bore a larger portion 
of joy than woe, who shall tell? 

The Quakeress moved to go, and Joshua 
followed his beautiful lost love, sweet Lydia 

2o6 Sweet Lydia Fell 

He went with her into the hall way, and 
just as he was taking his hat off the peg, his 
hostess called him, " Please come to tea." 

"To tea V he asked in bewihlerment. 

" Yes, it is half-past six o'clock. But I didn't 
like to wake you before." 

''Wake me ? " queried Joshua, amazed. " Have 
I been to sleep % " 

" Yes, ever since about four o'clock." 

"Dear me, dear me," said Joshua aloud, 
but to himself he murmured, " It was only a 
dream, after all ! " 

The dream made the minister uneasy, and 
a day later he started on his perilous journey 
homeward, with the greatest possible difficulty 
reaching Abergele just one day before his aged 
•mother died. 

She had been seized with a serious illness 
about six o'clock, when, in a dream, Lydia Fell 
told him his mother was dying. 

In April the "man from tlie North" went 
down to Quakers' Yard, where he arrived one 
evening quite unexpectedly. 

He reached Aunt Dinah's in the dusk of the 
evening, and quite unrecognised by the few 
people who passed him. 

"Joshua Moro^an!" exclaimed Aunt Dinah, 

All in All to Him 207 

tenderly greeting him. '' So tbou'rt come at 
last ! " 

When they reached the parlour Joshua said, 
'' Time has dealt gently with you, dear Aunt 

"It hath indeed, and with my husband 

" And Eachel ? " asked Joshua. 

" She is married, and has four children." 

^'Ah!" sighed Joshua. ''These eight years 
have seemed like a century to me." 

Joshua could not yet bring himself to utter 
the name nearest his heart. 

" And how is Uncle Zebedee ? " asked Joshua, 
drawing nearer the subject that was all in all 
to him. 

" Uncle Zebedee ! I thought thee didst kuow, 
but there, w^e have not written to thee since 
February. He died on the first of March." 

*' And Lydia \ " 

"She hath been low, and weak ever since. 
For two months she nursed her father day and 
night, and her strength gave way." 

Not w^aiting to take refreshment with Aunt 
Dinah and Deacon David, Joshua wxnt to see 

Finding the front-door wide open he strolled 
noiselessly in, and turned to the parlour. 

A bright fire was burning on the hearth, and 

2o8 Sweet Lydia Fell 

beside it on a couch was tlie wasted form of 
Lydia, propped up with pillows. 

The glance was too much for Joshua, so he 
stepped out into the hall to dash the tears from 
his eyes. 

Lydia, hearing the retreating footsteps, feebly 
cried, ^' Auut Dinah dear, is it thee ? " 

With that the minister entered, and gently 
said, " Lydia." 

The Quakeress moved among her pillows. 

" Who — who is it ? " she asked. 

Joshua stepped forward. 

"It is Joshua, come at last ! " exclaimed 
Lydia, extendiug her thin worn hand, which the 
minister took and held within his own. 

Then he drew a chair beside the invalid. 

At that moment he first observed the real 
alteration in his cousin. 

She looked thin and worn. All the delicate 
colour had left her cheeks, and they were 
hollow and wasted as her poor little thin 

" I am sorry to find you thus," said Joshua, 
" but you will get better soon. Time is a great 

'' Nay, Joshua, I shall never recover. For 
two years I have felt the end coming, but my 
poor fathers death was the finishing stroke," 
said Lydia. " The Lord knoweth what is 

The Story of Joshua s Love 209 

best. I am prepared to go whenever He calls 


" You shall not go/' said Joshua passionately. 
" You must live — live for me, Lydia." 

Then, like a mountain torrent, he poured 
forth the story of his love, and the conquest of 
duty, screening not even his dead mother in 
the intensity of his passion. 

" Thou hast suffered much," said Lydia ten- 
derly, '* and I would I could live, for thy dear 

There, in the fire glow, they plighted their 
troth, and Lydia felt conscious it was only the 
union of souls for a short time on earth but 
for ever in heaven. 

When summer roses died in the old home 
garden, Lydia the beautiftd passed away, and 
Joshua Moro^an returned to Abero'ele, feelino- 
like one from whom life's sunshine had been 
cruelly wrested by a fate relentless as the 

For years after that he annually visited 
Quakers' Yard, and the burying place of the 
Friends, where, so late as sixty years ago, a 
moss-grown stone still bore the partially obli- 
terated name of Lydia Fell. 

This story was taken from an aged minister's 
note-book. Therein it was stated that in his 
childhood he knew a sad-faced, but powerful 


Sweet Lydia Fell 

preacher, named Joshua Morgan, who, even at 
the age of ninety, travelled from the North to 
the South, and ever spoke to his friends of 
the duty that vanquished love, and martyred 
sweet Lydia Fell ! 

^be Mel0b flDerr^^flDan 

F the '' Merry-Man " was not one of the 
best in his profession, ask the sailors 
who surrounded him in the inn at Port 
Dinorwic, known formerly as Felin Hen — ask 
the children from Mona to Montgomery — ask 
the girls from Snowdon, westward or south- 
ward to the sea — ask the mothers from St. 
Asaph to St. David's. 

He was a veritable Welsh wag, or, as the 
country folk would say, a "Merry-Man." To 
call him a clown, or an acrobat, would be to 
libel him, even though he sometimes appeared 
among a troupe of strolling players, and went 
in for what the people called "a lot of antics 
and capers," but he more frequently went about 
only with a man and a dog. The man played 
the harp, and the dog danced to any gay or 
melancholy tune from " Hob-y-deri-Dando," to 
" Ar-hyd-y-nos." 

212 The Welsh Merry-Man 

Wherever the "Merry-Man" went he was 
welcome. Rough and ready sailors, in all the 
seaport towns of Wales, greeted him with 
friendly hand-grasp and a tankard of civriv-da. 
The housewives on the dusty roadsides were 
ever ready to let him rest awhile from the heat 
of summer, or to shelter from the rains of early 

Where he went in the winter was a secret 
known best to himself. In May he re-appeared 
and continued his peregrinations from north to 
south, until the fading and falling leaves pro- 
claimed the approach of November. 

Nobody knew^ his name, and when asked he 
would say — 

" Elecampane, Elecampane, 
If you ask me again, 
I will tell you tlie same ; " 

or, laughing heartily, he would say, " Don't you 
know ? — why, the Sassenach do call me ' Our 
Taffy.' " 

One wet afternoon in summer, when the inn 
at Port Dinorwic was crowded by noisy sailors, 
the Merry-Man appeared. 

He was accompanied by his friend with the 
harp, and a dog. 

" Where'st been this long time ? " said one and 
the other. 

The Spring Cleanin 2 1 3 

" Where I've been before," replied the Merry- 

" You do come in poor times for these parts," 
said the landlord. 

"'Tis always poor times in May," said the 
Merry-Man. " Spring cleaning is uncommon 
dirty work, and the women get that fractious 
over it — don't they, missis ? " 

The landlady smiled. 

'* The worst week I did ever spend was with 
Morgan Lloyd in Din as Mawddwy, when his wife 
was took with the spring cleanin'." 

" Now^ for it ! " exclaimed the auditors, almost 
in one breath, as the sailors sat down before 
their tankards of beer. 

The landlord took his seat in the arm-chair ; 
the landlady seated herself in the corner of the 
settle farthest from the fire. 

"Well, I wass tell you," said the Merry-Man, 
using a common Welsh provincial expression, 
"how Mary Jones was took with the spring 
cleanin'. Soon after twelve of a Sunday night I 
did hear odd sounds ; crockery did rattle — glasses 
did jingle — an by three in the mornin' Mary Jones 
was rampin'. Tijings was taken down from dirty 
shelves — clean crockery to be dusted was put on 
one side, and crockery to be washed was put on 
the other. Come Tuesday, nothin' was in its 
place. Well, the dirtiest thing I do know of 

214 ^^^^ Welsh Me7^7y-Man 

is spring cleanin ! We was told that there was 
to be no dinner 'cause the kitchen grate was to 
be cleaned, an' the saucepans was to be scoured. 
Wednesday there was no breakfast, 'cause the 
kittles was to be cleaned inside and out. The 
beds was taken to pieces — ticks an' all — an' we 
had to sleep on the floor. Thursday we was 
told to take off our boots and walk barefooted, 
'fraid we'd dirty the floor, an' same day we'd to 
eat the food in our hands to spare the plates. 
'Twas cruel bad times. She did blacklead the 
outsides of the saucepans and kittles. She did 
clean the clock by taking out the works and 
boilin' them. She did rub beeswax on the 
chairs, on the tables, on the posts of the bed- 
sticks, on the floors, till they did come as slippery 
as ice itself — and true as I be sittin' here, she 
did beeswax the bellows ! I did ask if she'd like 
to beeswax me ! 

" Well, well, the dirtiest work I do know of 
is spring cleanin'. But, to go on with my story. 
Davy Jones did go out, an' worst of all, he did 
go to the public-house, an' he did get drunk — 
like all of us do get sometimes — and fust thing 
on comin' home at night was to ask for his 
fiddle. ' You kent have the fiddle,' says Mari, 
' you bean't in a fit state to touch it.' ^ I will 
have my fiddle,' says he, and off straight he did 
go to look for the instrument. It did belong to 

Davy Jones' s Fiddle 

his greet-grandfatlier, an' he did set greet price 
on it. In the twinkliii' of an eye back he did 
come. ' Mari/ he did bawl as loud as he could, 
' Mari, what hast thee bin an' done with the 
fiddle ? ' ^ Bin an done, to be sure,' says she, 
flouncin' ; ' I've bin an cleaned it — that's all. 
Time for it to be clean ed, I should think. 'Twas 
thick with dirt, an' as black as the chimbley 
back.' 'But, Mari/ says Davy, 'how did'st thee 
clean it ? ' ' How, indeed ! I'll tell you how in 
a minute. I did put it in a tub of rain water, 
an I did scrub an scrub it till I did jest get the 
skin off my hands. 'Twas that dirty.' Davy 
did jump with temper. 'The 'ooman's mad,' 
says he ; ' who did ever hear of any 'ooman in 
her senses scrubbin' a fiddle ! There — 'tis ruined 
for life ! ' ' No, 'tisn't,' says Mari, ' I did take it 
out an' wipe it, an' then I did dry it before the 
fire.' ' Before the fire ! ' says Davy. ' Iss, to be 
sure,' says Mari, ' where would you have me dry 
it — in the sun \ Then I did beeswax it, an' 
look at it now ! ' Mari did take the fiddle from 
him, and did hold it over to me. Sure anuff, 
there was the fiddle beeswaxed from stem to 
stern, as you sailors do say. Davy Jones of 
Dinas Mawddwy did hang his fiddle behind the 
door, an' from that day to this he did never 
touch it again. An' Mari was never took again 
with such a bout of spring cleanin'." 

2i6 The Welsh Merry- Man 

Loucl laughter and applause succeeded the 
Merry-Man's story, wliicli, after all, was only a 
" good skit," as the Welsh sailors said, on the ex- 
tremes of spring cleaning in some parts of Wales. 

Soon the sailors clamoured for another story. 

The Merry-Man readily granted the request, 
aud he explained that he spoke in imperfect 
Anglo-Cymric dialect, so as to keep his stories 
to the letter and life as far as possible. Some- 
times he would imitate the Anglo-French, some- 
times he imitated the American dialect, but the 
people more thoroughly enjoyed his descriptive 
stories of their own land. 

" Well," resumed the Merry-Man, " there 
was a greet big man from the North did go to 
Llundain (London). The man from the North 
did speak wonderful, all things considerin'. For 
he did know very little English, poor fellow, but 
he did do his best. Now he did learn his speech 
perfect before he did come, but he did want to 
say ' a few remarks ' before he did begin his 
greet address. 'I did feel greet wish to see 
the greet City,' says he, *an' I did say if moun- 
tain won't come to Ma'omet, Ma'omet will go 
to the mountain, an' here I did come. An' as 
I did come down for the first time in the train, 
I did say England got not half bad mountains, 
but they be little, an' poor anuff. And I did 
say to myself. If all the little mountains in 

" A^wther bit I do see dull in you " 217 

England was put together, that would be a big 
mountain, but not so big as one of the moun- 
tains with us, the mount called Y-Wyddfa 
(Snowdon), or Carnedd Llewellyn, or Carnedd 
Davyd. Well, after all, I do see you are so 
dull here. You don't know what ' talcen ty ' 
is in English ; 'tis the forehead of the house. 
You don't know what ' coes bren' is in English ; 
'tis timber leg ! And then there's another bit 
I do see dull in you, for all you do live in the 
big City ; an' I will tell you all 'bout it. When 
I was come to the deacon's, they did welcome 
me kind anuff at first, an' I did set down by 
the tea-table feelin' comfortable an' homely. An* 
after tea — I didn't like to mention it before — 
I did say as quiet as possible, ' If you will please 
to excuse me, Mr. Morgan, in takin' the liberty 
to say so, but I do want you to get the small- 
pox.' ' Get the smallpox ? ' asks he. ' I hope 
to goodness I shan't get it.' 'Now I do think 
that uncommon unchristian-like, for I do want 
you to get the smallpox,' says I, determined. 
' An' I do think it unbe'comin' of you, a minister 
of the gospel, to want me to get the smallpox.' 
We did get to high words — iss, indeed, look 
you ; for all the time I did want him to get 
the smallpox. Well, I did go out, and I did 
go to the stasshoon, an' I did say to the — what 
do they call him, what runs 'bout up an' down 

2i8 The Welsh Merry -Man 

with a truck most of the time, au' calls out 
somethin' I don't understand at all. There, 
I do know now — 'tis the Sassenach for Irish 
stout. So says I to the mau, 'Excuse me 
speakiij' — an' I did try to be as genteel as I 
could — but I do want you to get the smallpox.' 
There's a look he did turn on me ! 'Twas anuff 
to curdle vineoar. ' You can wish me to o;et 
nothin' worse than the smallpox,' says the man; 
' I hope I shall get nothing of the kind.' So I 
did go off to the man that do go to shut the 
doors of the trains when they do come in and 
go out, an' I did begin as civil as possible, for I 
was getting dusprad 'fraid of the people here in 
the greet City. So I did try to speak mild to 
the man what the English do call a watch- 
chain — ' I do want you to get the smallpox.' 
'You're a kind fellow,' says the man, 'to want 
anybody to get the smallpox, I must say.' An 
he did turn on his heels. Well, I did never 
think anybody would treat a stranger like that, 
in a strange land, too. By-and-by I did go to 
where there was a street number of the men that 
do go in the Sassenach by the name of Irish stout, 
an' I did say, ' I do want you to get the small- 
pox.' You did never hear such a noise in your life ! 
One did tell me to go to Jericho, another did say 
somethin' 'bout sending my granny to shoe ducks. 
' Shoe ducks ? ' says I ; 'do they do such a thing 

Before the Magistrates 2 1 9 

in Llundain as shoe clucks.' Then they did 
laugh outright ; but never fear, I didn't mind 
'em a bit, so I did go on — ' In Gwalia, where I 
did come from, they do shoe horses an asses, 
but a Welsh donkey, leave alone a man, would 
laugh to see a duck in shoes ! ' I did think 
myself uncommon clever to turn the tables on 
them like that. But they — why they did laugh 
worse than ever. An' I did ask them what for ? 
' What for ! ' says one of the men, * I'll give you 
what for soon if you don't clear off this platform.' 
Well, I did never feel more put on in my life. 
But the old Welsh blood was up in a minute, an 
boilin' over too. I did only say I did want 
them to get the smallpox, an with that the 
man did take me by the collar and go to put me 
out of the stasshoou. Well, I did turn on him, 
an' somehow or other we did come to blows, an' 
the end of it was, they did take me to the 
lock-up for insulting the man in the stasshoon. 
Next day I was took 'fore the magistrates, an' I 
did tell them plain anuff how it did all come 
about jest because I did say I did w^ant them to 
got the smallpox. The magistrates did laugh 
outrio-ht. An' one of them did know the old 
language, an' he did say to me, ' They thought 
you meant the frech iven.^ I did laugh fit to 
kill myself, an' there was no wonder they did 
think me mad to be wantin' the people to get 

2 20 The Welsh Mei^ry-Man 

i\\Q.frech iven (smallpox), when all the time I did 
only want my little small — Box, they did spell it. 
'Twill be the first an' last time for me to go 
to Llundain ! " 

Loudly laughed the company and eager were 
the demands for more stories, and, after the 
Merry-Man had rested awhile, he resumed his 
art, which, if not always so amusing as his 
antics, was, to some at least, entertaining. 

He did not always talk in that quaint and 
queer patois of Wales, reserving that chiefly 
for stories illustrating the peculiar idiosyncrasies 
of the Principality. Sometimes he ran on in 
fluent English, which often pleased the people 
beyond measure, for the Welsh dearly delight 
in listening to a skilled conversationalist. 

" You know but few of the old stories of 
Wales," said the Merry-Man. " If I could Td 
make a book on them, like great writers do 
about England and Scotland and Ireland. I've 
got a story that will stand side by side with 
any of them, and I only wish I could write it. 
It is the story of the Kobber s Leap. Khys 
Coch, or Ehys the Red, was one of the cele- 
brated 'Men of Mawddwy,' who were robbers 
in days gone by. A price was set on his head 
because he was the leader or chief of the 
robbers. The price was large and tempting, 
and it tempted one of his own band of robbers 

Rhys the Red 2 2 1 

to try and capture the leader of the men of 
Mawddwy. But, by-and-bye, Khys the Eed began 
to have suspicions about his men, and one day 
he told lolo, his chief man, what he thought. 

" ' There is little faith in any one of them,' said 
Rhys the Red ; ' one can scarcely trust a man.' 

'''The times are bad,' said lolo, who felt 
deeply the persecution of the law. 

"Just before this time the Kins^ of Ens^land 
had passed laws for the destruction of the men 
of Mawddwy, and there was no peace for the 

" Rhys began to fear his own men, and was 
continually changing his quarters. Sometimes 
he would suddenly go down to the lowlands, 
and sometimes he would keep close among 
the mountains. The men of Mawddwy were very 
fierce, and never scrupled to take anything they 
could set their hands on. They always had 
plenty of horses, so that they could ride away 
like the wind when chased. Rhys the Red 
had a horse named Lightning, and he was very 
fond of it. 

" 'Never mind, my beauty,' he said one day, 
stroking his horse's splendid arched head and 
glossy neck, ' thou art swift as the eagle in its 
flight from Caer Eyri — bright as the lightning 
in the Pass of Glasslyn — firm as the rocks in 
wilds of Montgomery ! ' 

222 The Welsh Merry- Man 

*' More than gold, more than maiden or wife, 
and, next to his own life, Ehys the Red loved 
his horse. In speed it surpassed the swiftest 
horse among the mountains, and it would ven- 
ture where any other animal feared to stand. 

" Rhys the Red had over ^-^^ hundred men 
at his beck and call when the law set a price 
on his head, and in less than a year the number 
had dwindled down to three hundred. One 
day he divided his company into three, and 
sent one to the west, one to the east, and 
one to the south, reserving the other part for 
himself and fifty men. Rhys and his men rode 
on into parts unknown to them, and, while 
wandering through some woods, the party came 
to be separated. By-and-bye, Rhys noticed 
that, while pondering deeply on the course he 
intended to pursue, he was left behind. At 
first he thought it was accidental, but at last, 
after shouting with might and main, he believed 
himself to be betrayed. He rode swiftly on, 
and soon heard the roaring of a torrent down 
below him. Then, looking back, he saw the 
king's men in full pursuit. If Rhys turned 
back he must fall into their hands — to ride 
on was to fall into danger unknown. But 
ride on he had to, because the English were 
chasing him. At last, after riding at the top 
of his speed, and outstripj)ing the king's men, 

TJie Robber s Leap 223 

lo and behold, he reached the torrent that he 
had heard in the distance. 

" Khys the Eed baited a minute or two to 
consider what was to be done. The king's 
men were behind, the yawning torrent before 
him. He must be taken, or leap the torrent ! 

" ' My Lightning, my Lightning ! ' he said, 
stroking his trusty steed's bead, 'fleet of foot 
as thou art, I like not to try thee here. But, 
my life, my prize ! thou must leap ! 'Tis 
better to perish together in the torrent than 
to be taken ! ' 

" The horse seemed to understand his master's 
wish ; then, waiting as if to measure the dis- 
tance, he leaped across the torrent and swiftly 
and safely reached the other side. The king's 
men held their breath, and then the leader 
cried out, 'Surely in the length and breadth 
of the land there is not a braver man than 
Ehys the Eed ! ' And to this day the spot is 
known as the ' Eobber's Leap.' " 

Before the Merry-Man ceased, the wind began 
howling in the chimney, the waves roared, the 
rain was beating agaiust the window panes, and 
twilight gloom proclaimed the near approach 
of night. For a short time the Merry-Man 
sat silently in the cheerful fire-light ; but when 
the candles were lighted, he deserted the art 
of story - telling for that of antics, to the in- 

2 24 ^^^^ Welsh Me7^ry-Mun 

finite pleasure of all beholders in the quaint 
old kitchen of the inn at Port Dinorwic, 

He was the last of his kind, for the Welsh 
Merry-Man should not be confused with clowns 
and acrobats of to-day. In every sense he was 
a very simple, harmless, and popular maker 
of mirth, whose chief business was" to relate 
laughable stories, with interludes of song, 
curious dances, grotesque grimaces, and extra- 
ordinary feats demonstrating muscular power. 

The Merry-Man never wore powder, paint, 
or mottled garments. He was simply a relic 
of the Morris Dancers of old and wandering 
minstrels of the past. 

^be Mbite Momcn of Xunbi? 

OOMING dim and mysteriously through 
shrouding mists of morning, the storm- 
beaten cliffs and wave-riven rocks of 
Luudy looked like grim and voiceless wardens 
of unrecorded romances and forgotten tragedies. 

Scared with grisly seam and haggard cleft, 
the dark and barren granite ridges, hurled in 
wild disorder on the sparse shingle, caught 
the first red gleam of the summer daybreak. 
Above, on the bare and wind-blown heights 
now capped with cloud-reefs, all was cold and 
grey and unfriendly. Below, among the lesser 
cliffs, fantastic coves and shadowy grottoes, 
myriads of sea-birds whirled wildly, as though 
glad to welcome the return of sunrise. All the 
jagged ledges and jutting rocks were swarmed 
with them, and the morning air was filled with 
their wild and discordant screams. 

In the words of an old chronicler, it is " so 
immured with rocks, and impaled with beetle- 

2 26 The White Women of Lttndy 

browed cliffs, that there is no entrance but for 

Drayton in his Polyolhion sings — 

*' England and Wales strive in this song,. 
To whether Lundy doth belong ; 
When either's nymphs, to clear the doubt, 
By music mean to try it out. 
This while in Sabrin's court, strong factions strangely 

Since Cornwall, for her own, and as her proper due, 
Claimed Lundy, which was said to Cambria to belong, 
Who oft had sought redress, for that her ancient wrong." 

He then goes on — 

" Of all the inlaid isles her sovereign Severn keeps, 
That bathe their amorous breasts within her secret deeps 
(To love her Barry much, and Scilly though she seem, 
The Flat-Holm, and the Steep as likewise to esteem), 
This noblest British nymph yet likes her Lundy best." 

The decision appears in the next canto — 

" In this song Severn gives doom 
What of her Lundy should become." 

In conclusion, the poet sings — 

*' Then take my final doom, pronounced lastly — this, 
That Lundy like ally'd to Wales and England is." 

Around the peninsula of Lametor and Eat 
Island, the silver gieen waves of the Atlantic 

Captain Pronoville 227 

rolled surging against the cliffs, aud at their 
base the surf foamed and frothed ceaselessly. 

The ruins of Marisco Castle looked gloomy 
and grand as the clouds lifted, and the first faint 
sunbeams worked curious traceries thereon. 

It was a day to be remembered by the few 
islanders that remained. 

Before the troubled times of the great Rebel- 
lion, and when it was almost deserted by its 
hereditary owners, Lundy was known as one of 
the very worst of pirates' nests. 

It afterwards became the refuge for people 
during the civil wars. Echard, the old English 
historian, states that after Lord Say and Sele 
"had lived to see his fine ambition defeated by 
the supremacy of Cromwell, he sought a volun- 
tary retreat, or rather imprisonment, in the isle 
of Lundy." 

Later on, the island regained its old reputa- 
tion as the headquarters of pirates and despe- 
radoes, and a safe resort for criminals and 
adventurers of all nationalities. 

In 1663, reports were sent to the Admiralty 
that " pirates and desperadoes " had *' estab- 
lished themselves there," and that " one Captain 
Pronoville, a Frenchman, having grown despe- 
rate, had fixed himself at Lundy, and was doing- 
great damage to merchants." 

For three years Pronoville had been playing 

2 28 The White Women of Lttndy 

havoc ill the Golden Bay, as Piarnstaple Bay was 
called, because of the numberless prizes gained 
there by pirates. 

On this June day in 1666, when the Atlantic 
rollers caug;ht the first flush of sunrise, and over 
the vast green water wastes the earliest golden 
glory of the summer sunshine rippled in quiver- 
ing radiance, two wliite-sailed skifi"s, with sea- 
birds wheeling in their wake, rounded Rat 
Island and entered the roads. 

Pronoville, the pirate, standing on the heights 
like a bird of prey, sent down his minions to 
demand the cause of the intrusion of the 
strangers. Buccaneer as he was, he felt fearful 
of spies — of other pirates coming to share the 
island, and above all he was much afraid of his 
powerful rivals the Dutch. 

" It looks like the Dutch," said he, scanning 
the skiffs. 

Then he descended from the lordly heights 
above the sea, and went down to the roads. 

" Who may ye be ? " thundered Pronoville to 
the three men just landed. 

" We be peaceable Welshmen, come over to 
see some of our relatives that do live in the 
island," said the spokesman of the party. 

Pronoville had doubts, whereupon the Welsh- 
men produced satisfactory proofs in support of 
their statement, so they were allowed to pass 

Gannet Coombe 


in peace to the Gannet's Coombe to their 
relatives, who gained their living as feather 
'' pluckers." 

The three men were the sons of the veritable 
master of the Mumbles (a suburb of Swansea) 
mau-o'-war, which, he said, was armed with 
" three leatherin' guns and a handspik'." 

They came to see and befriend their only 
sister Mary Marriner, formerly Llewellyn, who 
had recently been widowed and left in ill 

When the Welshmen reached Mary's home in 
Gannet Coombe, a thoroughly Celtic greeting 
took place. 

It was " Oh dear, dear, an' here you be, come 
to see your poor sister ; " and '' Didn't I know it 
was you V and then in Welsh, ''Look, look, my 
little children." 

Then amid tears and sobs and smiles, the 
Welsh element subsided, and order once more 
resumed its sway. It was pleasant for Mary 
Marriner in Gannet Coombe, because her 
brothers had brought '' plenty of money " and 
spent it freely. 

In their rude manner all this " spendin' " was 
intended to assuage the soul agonies of the 
widow, and still the sorrows of the orphans. 
After a few days had passed, Pronoville was 
disposed to seek the society of these Welshmen, 

230 The White Women of Lundy 

and, before the week was out, he spent the 
greater part of his time with them. 

One day, while Pronoville and the Welshmen 
were regaling themselves with undiluted spirit 
in Gannet Coombe, the wary old sea-pirate 
suggested that the visitors should "have a try" 
at his own profitable profession. 

'' You'd make money ding-dong," said Prono- 
ville, slapping one of the men on the shoulder. 

'' Don't know so much about that," said Jacob 
Llewellyn. " It would take a long time to 
learn, an' by the time I did know the way 
how, I'd be ready for my grave." 

Pronoville laughingly scorned the idea. 

'' You're a young man yet," said he with a 
friendly poke. 

" Not so young," said Jacob. " I'm on the 
wrong side of sixty now." 

" Then you bad better have a try at my 
game," to the other Welshman. 

"Well," said Reuben Llewellyn, "it's un- 
common kind of you to give us a chance, and, 
if my brother Pharaoh would join, I don't mind 
trying, an' see what'U come of it." 

" What do you say, Pharaoh % " asked Prono- 

" I've a mind to try, but I'd like to take a few 
days to think over it," said Pharaoh. 

" By all means," said Pronoville. 

Welsh Buccaneers 2 3 1 

It was agreed that three days hence decision 
should be made. That night, in the Gaunet 
Coombe, Jacob was by no means agreeable. He 
disliked the idea of Welshmen leno^nins; with 
wicked ^^sea-thieves and robbers," and went so 
far as to say that there never had been any 
Welsh pirates, or wild rovers and robbers 
Whereupon he was reminded of the Welsh 
buccaneers, who had scoured the seas, and 
scourged the merciless taskmasters of the far 

"Let's turn buccaneers," said Eeuben ; "it's 
a fine game, Pharaoh. 

" Ay, ay ! " responded Pharaoh. 

Mary Marriner, listening to this conversation, 
observed that although Jacob appeared to be 
opposed to the proposition, there was a curious 
twinkling in his eyes, and secret satisfaction 
with the course his brothers intended to pursue. 
And she moreover observed that, although 
Jacob fretted and fumed when any of the 
"pluckers" were present, he rubbed his hands 
and chuckled to himself when the brothers sat 
alone. The three days passed, and Pronoville 
came for the answer. 

"Agreed," exclaimed Reuben and Pharaoh 

"What about yourself?" asked Pronoville, 
addressing Jacob. 

The White Women of Lundy 

" I'll have notliing to do with it ; no, not 
I," said Jacob. "Wben they do begin their 
work I'll go back to Swansea." 

" Work will begin next week," said Pronoville. 
" Time means money." 

He rubbed his hands and chuckled gleefully. 

Like the spider luring the fly, the old sea- 
rover loved to catch the unwary, and laid his 
plots accordingly. He saw that the Welsh- 
men had money to spend, and, if anybody 
could get it out of them, he would. He wanted 
partners with money badly just now. " Trade 
had been dull," he told himself — not revealing 
the fact to his new partners — and he wanted 
more craft and crew. The Dutch were gradu- 
ally becoming powei'ful rivals, and he feared 
they would take his " Golden Bay " prizes 
from ]iim ; and again, he wanted younger men 
to fill his place in a trustworthy manner 
when, work- weary, he might wish for rest and 
temporary leisure. Not that he — the intrepid 
sea-robber — ever intended retiring from busi- 
ness, not he ! 

" The sea's my boniiie bride. 
And whatever may betide, 
I will never leave her side. 

Never ! Never ! Ho ! ho ! ho ! " 

sang Pronoville. 

New life and fire filled the Frenchman's heart, 

'' With the Tide on Monday'' 233 

and he went about ordering his men with the 
air and importance of a monarch who has 
augmented his army. 

"It's a grand thing to be bold, fearless, 
intrepid, daring, and — honouiable, isn't it, 
Pharaoh?" asked the pirate, sturdily beating 
his breast. 

'' That it is," responded Rueben. 

''Ay, indeed," added Pharaoh. 

But they did not see where tlie " honourable " 
came in. 

"We begin with the tide on Monday," said 
Pronoville. "My plans are laid, and all will 
be ready for action by Sunday evening. 

That night in the Gannet Coombe, Mary 
Marriner was sad and poor spirited. Her own 
brothers, sous of her own mother, were going 
to " bemean " themselves by " taking to " 
a nefarious trade. It was more than she 
cared to contemplate, and, before her brothers 
retired for the night, she gave them "a piece 
of her mind." Mary Marriner spoke warmly, 
as one who bitterly disliked even the very 
thought of it, and she concluded her attack 
by declaring her intention of packing up her 
" belongings," and quitting Lundy when Jacob 

"When are you going?" she asked Jacob. 

" In a week or two," he replied. 

2 34 ^-^^ White Women of Lundy 

'' Are you going to stay here so long as that !" 
exclaimed Mary, almost screaming. " Will you 
look on at such dreadful wickednesses ? " 

Mary was in a perfect rage. 

Seeing this, Jacob whispered a few words in 
Welsh, which had the effect of instantly and 
com|)letely subduing her. 

With the tide on Monday, Pronoville, accom- 
panied by his new partners Eeuben and Pharaoh, 
commenced " business," and apparently with 
great success. As trade increased, Pronoville 
grew lazy, and in course of time he drank 
heavier and oftener. Sometimes he would 
remain for days carousing in his headquarters 
with boon companions, while Reuben and 
Pharaoh worked. Jacob returned to Swansea, 
but Mary, after all, remained to look after her 

Meanwhile, rumours floated among the 
islanders that somebody had seen a ghost 
flitting about the ruins of Maiisco Castle, and 
strange rappings and noises were heard in 
different parts of the island. As time passed 
the spirit rappiiigs increased, and the ghost 
had taken a partner. 

Pronoville did not believe a word of it. 

There always were strange noises in Lundy, 
he said. It was "the noisest hole in the world," 
and, "as for ghosts," he did not believe in such 

Stor^n at Sea 235 

''old womanish inventions," they were not worth 
thinking about. 

Pronoville continued to drink heavier, and 
the more he drank the worse his nerves ofrew. 

" I'm getting," he said to Eeuben one 
September day, when, from the great sapphire 
rollers, the Atlantic sent the foam flying over 
the Templar Kock, and the storm- wind sent 
the salt-spray fleeting like mist over wide wastes 
of heather and countless hillocks of drift. 

Confusion reigned supreme in Lundy. 

The wind roared wildly in the Devil's Chimney; 
the tide seethed and whirled around the Cheeses ; 
the long and heavy swells broke in furious cata- 
racts on the Shutter Eock, and rolled huge 
boulders to and fro in the darkness of the 
caverns under the Devil's Limekiln. 

Against the inky black sky innumerable 
white and grey winged sea-birds appeared in 
bold relief, as tliey soared aloft, and with wild 
notes and shrieks rejoiced in the storm, while 
the din of wave- warfare reverberated amonof 
the grim precipices that towered into the rain- 
drifts and clouds above. 

In the lonely recesses of that wild and wave- 
washed island, fresh additions were already 
being made to the numerous relics of wrecks 
stored there, while the rain on land, and the 
storm at sea, boded further calamity. 

236 The White Women of Lundy 

Captain Pronoville and his French crews 
were holding revelry at the headquarters, 
while the tide rolled " mountains hio'h " into 
Kattles Bay, and the relentless rain lashed the 
ruined towers of Marisco Castle. Although 
Pronoville fouud Eeuben and Pharaoh and 
their money useful, he did not trust them so 
implicitly as his own dearly-loved Frenchmen, 
and, on the other hand, his AYelsh allies shrank 
from the "foreign" oroies of the notorious 

Eeuben and Pharaoh returned to Gannet 
Coombe, there to wait until the storm passed. 
Mary Marriner catered for them in the generous 
and hospitable manner known to country folk 
in general, but to Welsh housewives in par- 

The storm lingered, and on the third day it 
increased almost to a hurricane. 

One day during this period of storm, Prono- 
ville experienced what he termed a "strange 
feeling," but, in truth, it was a friglrt. 

Early in the afternoon, during a pause of 
the rain, the wily old sea rover crept up to 
his grey and weather-beaten outlook, Marisco 
Castle. There he remained until the gathering 
twilio;ht warned him it was hio-h time to return 
to Rattles Bay. 

While lookino^ out to the wild wave-distance, he 

He had Seen the Ghost ! 

heard the sound of a wailing voice calling slowly 
in a long-drawn, husky tone — " Pro-no-ville." 

Again it wailed, almost groaned, " Pro-no- 
ville ! " 

" It is my faucy," said Pronoville, " and 
perhaps the wind helps it." 

He knew all his men, in fact all the inhabi- 
tants on the island called him captain. Not a 
person would venture to address him only by 
bis surname. 

But he disliked the wailing voice, and, 
putting his fingers in his ears, he swore loudly 
and strongly about the weather in general and 
the wind in particular. 

Then he started to descend the stairs. 

As he reached the top, which formed a sort 
of landing, he saw emerging from one of the 
rooms a glidino- fiorure eroino; o-hostlike into 
an adjoining apartment. 

Pronoville started back in terror. He had 
seen the sfhost ! 

Bat he was not ooina to be ''humbuo-o-ed" 
he said, so, taking courage, he followed the 
figure, to find the room which he entered quite 
empty ! 

Then he descended the stairs, and before 
reaching the ancient portal, that voice, that 
blood-curdling wailing voice, called, ''Pro-no- 
ville ! " again, and yet again. 

238 TJie White Women of L2cndy 

Like one soul-driveu, Pronoville rushed 
away. His fingers were in his ears, and, 
as if to drown all recollection, he swore 

For some reason best known to himself, he 
turned to look back, and there, horror of horrors J 
standing in the rained window of the room 
which Pronoville thought to be empty, was the 
ghost ! 

There it stood waving its long shadowy 
arms in the windy twilight, like a wraith of the 
mist, or a hao; of the ni^'ht. 

Pronoville fled in terror, and his men down 
in Rattles Bay stared aghast to see their 
"intrepid" captain rushing amongst them as 
"if he had seen the ghost," they said. 

Pale to the lips, scared and trembling from 
head to foot, the pirate entered the quarters, 
and none dared question him as to the cause 
of his commotion. 

The storm continued with almost unabated 
fury, and Pronoville did not go to his outlook 
for nearly a week. 

When next he visited the citadel, he saw the 
crhost, and heard the wailino; voice as before. 
Worse still, the ghost glided after him, and he 
ran wherever he could, as if for dear life, down 
to Piattles Bay. 

Three weeks passed, duiing which the wraith 

The Castle of Mainsco 239 

continued to persecute the sea-rover, and, in 
due course, as the rumour had it, the o-host 
appeared ^vith a partner. 

Those — and they were few — who dared gaze 
at the ghosts, likened one of them to a tall, 
thin, and extremely shadowy person accompanied 
by a short, spare, and smaller figure. 

Both were women, and both wore their long 
hair floating far down beyond their waists. 

In due course the ohosts came to be called 
the " White Women," and they held their own, 
as though they had taken possession of the 
solitary and sea-girt Castle of Marisco. 

Through the dreary and moonlight nights 
of grey and shivering October — through the 
dense fogs and rain-drifts of November — 
through the darkness and desolation of Decem- 
ber, strange noises, mingled with unearthly 
wailiugs, were heard, and the ghosts maintained 
their sway. 

In time the islanders came to be afraid to 
venture out once the brief daylight began to 
wane, while the " bold, fearless, intrepid, daring, 
— and honourable" Pronoville and his French 
crew fairly " shook in their shoes " with terror 
whenever they had to go to Marisco Castle, 
which was both store and ammunition room, as 
well as their ''look out." 

Only the sea birds — the gulls, the shoveler 

240 The White Women of Lundy 

ducks, the snow-buntiBgs, and the "white- 
fronted geese" — were fearless. The peregrine 
falcon soared high and haughtily above the 
ghostly tracks, and the snow-white gannets re- 
mained loftily immovable and indifferent, as 
though leagued against wraiths and the spirit- 
world in general, and the " White Women " in 

Still the ghosts continued their mysterious 
walks abroad. 

Even when the whirling snow flung its pure 
shroud over the lonely island, and the leaden 
sky looked down upon the steel-blue sea, those 
wraiths haunted the place. 

Men grew fearful, women shuddered, and 
children crept into the corners when the first 
footfall of mysterious night — so like death — 

Great grey waves thundered in Kattles Bay, 
and men shivered in the morning. Dense white 
mists crept through the desolate and lonely 
coombes, and the women sighed and looked 
scared in the twilight. 

White foam-flakes were driven by the wind 
far inland, and the children cried in the starless 
and moonless nio^hts. 

Luncly was like No-Man's Land, where ghosts 
in passing greet one another on their way with 
the melancholy cry, " Whither — ay — whither ? " 

The Mumbles Man-d~lVar 241 

When the winds of March had passed, and 
April with her tears and smiles wandered along 
the earth, a surprise came to the island. 

" I told you so," exclaimed Eeuben. 

" It's never her," said Pharaoh. 

" What are you talkiog about ? " asked Prono- 

" Enough, I should think," said Pharaoh. 
'^ Don't you see in the offing the Mumbles man- 
o'-war ? " 

Pronoville swore. 

" My father means friendly," said Reuben. 

Pronoville, persecuted by the ghosts, was in 
" no mind " to be aoTeeable or to see strano-ers. 

In came the Mumbles man-o'-war, with its 
" three leatherin' guns and a handspik','' and 
the master thereof landed. 

He was warmly welcomed by his sons, who 
were overjoyed to see him. 

Pronoville's men " took to him " at once. 

Even Pronoville got to like him in a day 
or so. 

Davy Prosser, one of the men of the Mumbles 
man-o'-war, was told of the ghost. 

"I do know more about it than our cap'n," 
said he, in a confidential tone to Pronoville 
over their grog. 

" Iss, indeed. Thirty years ago Admiral Nutt, 
the great buccaneer, w^as Lord of Lundy. 'Twas 

242 The White Women of Lu?idy 

he did infest the Narrow Seas, and I was in one 
of the Government ' whelps ' that was chasing 
him. Old Nutt caught us, an' we, the crew 
of the Little Sally, was kej^t on Lundy for 

"What then ?" asked Prouoville. 

" We did see what the island people did call 
the 'White AVomen of Lundy.' 'Tis a bad sign 
when they do come, so we did hear theu. 
When the ' White Women ' do prowl about, it 
do mean coming dangers — loss, ruin, sickness, 
and sometimes — death ! " 

The pirate shivered. 

His luck seemed to have departed with the 
coming of the " White Women." 

All his courage had long since forsaken him. 
He had grown strangely restless, moody, fearful, 
and tremulous, and worse so because of the deep 
draughts of ardent spirits quaffed to keep off 
their disembodied contemporaries. 

The Mumbles man-o'-war came as a boon 
and a blessing to Pronoville. He would be 
equal with those detested "White Women." 
They should not any longer be forewarners of 
danger, loss, ruin, sickness, and — he shuddered 
to think of it — perhaps death ! Life became in- 
supportable, and the old pirate's nerves were 
hopelessly shattered. 

In May he quitted Lundy for ever. 

In Swa7isea Bay 243 

He sailed with his partners, Reuben, Pharaoh, 
their father, Davy Prosser, and Mary Marriner, in 
the Mumbles man-o'-war, bound for Swansea. 

Before reachiug Wales, Pronoville, seized by 
" a strange brain fever," died, raving in his death 
agony, ^' The White Women — the AVhite Women 
— see, they're following us ! " 

They buried him in the sapphire waves of 
Swansea Bay, and his body went to be the prey 
of those terrors of the sea to which he bad 
committed so many unfortunate mortals. 

Then, and not before, it was known in Lundy 
and elsewhere that the " White Women " were 
Reuben and Pharaoh Llewelyn, who for a heavy 
bribe, willingly offered by merchants and other 
sufferers by piracy, invented a ruse whereby to 
rid the island of the renowned and intrepid but 
wily Captain Pronoville. 

His crew remained in Lundy, but their sway 
was of short duration, for on the 3rd of June 
1667, the collector of Barnstaple wrote to the 
Board, "that some small Flushing privateers, 
which lie skulking under the island of Lundy, 
have taken six small barks coming from Ireland 
laden with bullocks, sheep, wool, and tallow ; " 
and a few days later, a report was sent to the 
Admiralty by John Man, "that French priva- 
teers, lying at Lundy Island . . . took a trow, 
kept the master, and sent the men ashore at 

244 ^^^^ White Women of Lttndy 

BaxD staple to procure money for the redemption 
of the vessel and lading, taking out of her a 
hundred sheep and other provisions for them- 
selves." A later report states that " three pri- 
vateers at Lundy put terror into all the vessels ; 
much shooting had been heard for three or four 

On the 2ist of June very few of Pronoville's 
men remained, for the officer in charge of the 
district wrote to the Admiralty : " Lundy Island 
is very slenderly guarded, four or five men from 
a vessel riding on a cross wind crept over the 
gates, and went to the peoj^le's houses before 
they saw anybody. If the Dutch should take 
the island it would block up the Severn, and 
a dozen good men would secure it from the 

The Mumbles man-o'- war's men lived to a 
good old age, and they never grew weary in 
telling the story of the " White Women of 

^be Black Bri&e of Caerwen 

HRICE bad snow fallen and melted on 
Y Wydd-fa (Snowdon) — thrice had 
Summer the sino^er wandered throuo;h 
the woodlands of Carnarvon — thrice had autumn 
dyed the leaves in the dark ravines, and the 
fourth April, with tears and smiles, wended her 
pensive way among the primroses of Wales, yet 
Watkin Griffith of Caerwen had not returned. 

In the hall of the ancient house, which once 
was a monastery, Ehys G-riffith sat by the fire- 
side, and waited and longed for Watkin, his 
rollicking and only son, to come home. 

Day after day the old man gazed wistfully 
throuo^h the tall windows lookins: southward 
across the meadows and moorlands, or wandered 
restlessly through the house, as if strange voices 
called him from afar. Day after day his foot- 
steps wearily echoed along the oaken floor, as he 

went to the spacious porch, there to look out 


246 The Black Bride of Caerwen 

with a loug sad smile to the court-jarcl, along 
which his son with manful pride strode in the 
summers gone bv. 

There, on the pegs in the lofty hall, hung 
Watkin's powder-flask and guD, together with 
his hunting-crop and hat. There by the deep 
bay window, where he loved to sit in the summer 
eveniDgs, was his son's favourite chair, now 
emjDty ! 

Looking out through that ancient window, 
towards the lofty summit of Snowdon, and the 
ravines and woodlands below, where the birds 
were building their nests, and nature rejoiced 
with the triumph of revival, a mist came before 
the old man's eyes, and he turned away with a 
sigh, and the murmur, '' When will he come ? " 

Every night as the clock struck seven, the 
Calvinistic minister of Salem — no matter what 
the weather might be — entered the great gate- 
way, crossed the court-yard, and took his seat in 
the fireside of the settle. He is there to-night. 

" And how are you ? " he asks in a cheery tone 
of voice, at which the old man's heart expands, 
as he answers, " The same as ever — waiting for 
our Watkin." 

Then they gossip in the ruddy fire-glow, while 
the April twilight deepens without, and the 
early moonbeams stray in through the mullioned 

Our Wat kin' 247 

After a while Khys Griffith returns to the one 
sad thought that haunts his mind. 

"No news," he says wearily ; '' no news." 

The minister of Salem, striking the ashes 
out of his pipe, replies, "Just like youth; and 
AVatkin's young blood is fiery, like his father's 
before him." 

At this the old man smiles, for he too had 
wandered " over the hills and far away " in his 
youth, and was ever restless and impatient at 

Then taking a letter from his pocket, he reads 
word by word some of the letters received from 
Watkin, w-ho had sailed the Western Seas in 
search of El Dorado. 

Watkin and his party had sought it in the 
crowded towns and cities of the United States — 
in the huntinsf orounds of the Red Indians — in 
the treasure regions of Peru — in the plains of 
Mexico— in the canons of California — -but in 
vain — in vain ! 

And now, lured away to the East, they seek 
the charmed spot among the South African gold 

Full of adventures are the young man s epistles. 
Abroad, and free as the air he breathes, he 
writes of days of danger in the far West — of 
months among the Red Indians — of perils in 
Peru— of the heat of the Mexican plains — the 

248 The Black Bride of Caeriven 

orancleur of the canons of California and Colorado, 
and lastly of strauge experiences in Africa. 

" Dear me, to be sure ! " exclaimed the ministei* 
of Salem. " If we were young again, we'd like 
to be with him. I daresay he's making money 
out there in South Africa, and some day he'll 
come home and settle down, and marry some- 

That Somebody is spoken with a very large 

" "Who's somebody ? " asks Rhys Griffith. 

'' Don't you know % " asks the minister. 

''There's no somebody for our Watkin, so long 
as he roams the world like this," says the old 

" But he's left somebody behind him," says 
the minister. 

" And who may that be ? " asks the old man 

" Eachel Lloyd of the Shop," replies the 

" Rachel Lloyd of the Shop, indeed ! " says 
the old man, re-filling his pipe, " I daresay he's 
had more than one Rachel Lloyd by this time, 
and they're all forgotten now." 

Months pass. Every night at seven the 
minister comes to Caerwen — every night at nine 
he returns home. 

A day comes, and with it a letter. 

'' To think of It r' 249 

At seven o'clock the miuister of Salem ascends 
the uplands to Caerwen. 

September moonbeams play around the old 
house, and steal slowly into the woodlands, where 
the red and yellow leaves flutter down through 
the evening air, and the trees begin to lose their 

The minister of Salem is greeted by the owner 
of Caerwen, with " I've had news." 

The old man leans forward in his chair. 

'' Listeu," he says, and the minister obeys. 

*' I skip some," says the old man, "and give 
you a wonderful piece of news." 

He reads out. " You will be glad to know 
I've settled down at last " 

"Very good. Well done, Watkin ! " inter- 
rupts the minister. 

'' Settled down at last," repeats Ehys Griffith, 
" and have got married to a beautiful African." 

The minister of Salem grows pale in the face. 
He lifts his hands in horror. 

"A beautiful African — African?" queries the 

"There never was a good-looking, to say 
nothing of a beautiful African," says the old 
man. "As sure as I'm alive, I'm ashamed of 
our Watkin." 

" To think of it ! " says the minister in shrilly 

250 The Black Bride of Caerwen 

" Ay, indeed to goodness, to think I should 
live to see our AVatkin many a — black ! " 

" And does he say anytkiug about coming 
home ? " asks the minister. 

" Iss indeed, worse luck, I could hide my head 
under a bushel for shame," says Kliys Griffith. 
" To think of our Watkin arming a black wife 
here by Snowdon ! " 

" What will the people say ? " asks the minister. 

" He'll be the talk of the county ! " exclaims 
the old man. 

" Of the principality," adds the minister. 
"Whoever heard of a Welshman, let alone a 
Griffith of Caerwen, marrying a black-a-moor ! " 

" She shan't live here," exclaims the old man, 
growing fiery, and bringing down his right fist 
with a ringing thud on the round table beside 
his chair. 

"She shan't come to our chapel," says the 
minister, who is willing to go out to the heathen 
abroad, but unwilling to undertake the con- 
version of the heathen that is expected at 

" He'll not have a penny of me," says the 
old man. " Every wife that has come to 
Caerwen for these three hundred years has been 
a credit to the house. There was our Watkin's 
mother — where could you see a nicer woman 
than she was — and my own old grandmother — 

The Minister of Salem 251 

who looked better than her, I should like to 

"One can't always go by looks," says the 
minister, thinking of his own better half, who 
was old, crabbed, and ugly ! 

"But to think that our Watkin should go 
and marry a — black!" continues the old man. 
" Bah ! How could the boy go a-courtin' and — 
kiss her 1" says tlie owner of Caerwen. "I was 
always against the Sassenach (Saxon), but I'd 
sooner see our Watkin marry an English woman 
than come back with a — black ! " 

"What has come over the boy?" queries the 
minister. " He was always taught in our school 
to look upon the blacks as heathens, an' if he 
did but remember the Scriptures that do say, 
'How do the heathen rage,' he'd have been 
afraid of the black-a-moor's temper. Well, 
'everybody's got their own liking,' as the old 
woman said when she kissed her black pig. But 
a black 'ooman — uofh ! " 

"Don't you mention a word to anybody," 
says the old man in a whisper, " and I won't ; 
and we will wait and see what we can see, as 
the blind man says." 

"/ won't say a word," says the minister, 
as he bids his host " Ffarwel nawr" (good-bye 
now), and goes home. 

That night the minister of Salem fails to 

252 The Black Bride of Caerwen 

sleep. He tosses, and turns, and twists, much 
to the annoyance of his crabbed partner. In 
his dreams he sees " our Watkin " coming to 
the chapel door with his fat, black, African wife 
leaning upon his arm. 

The minister of Salem believes the African 
woman to be fat and forty, and — black as ebony. 

Then he — a Christian minister — refuses to 
allow the black woman to enter Salem. For 
which an angel rebukes him, and they wrestle. 
He awakes to hear his wife saying, '' It's the 
first time you did ever rebuke me, Richard 
Williams, and I ken tell you, you shan't do it 
agen ! 

" I did think I was wrestling with an angel," 
says the minister of Salem. '' But, 'twas all— a 
dream ! " 

" Thank you kindly," says the irate Mrs. 
Williams. '' You do strike me, and think you 
was hitting an angel, 'stead of which 'twas me, 
an' now you do say 'twas all — a dream ! And 
pray, what may you have been wrestling with 
an angel for?" 

The minister of Salem remaius silent. To 
tell his wife would be to break his word with 
Ehys Griffith. 

After breakfast the next morninof the owner 
of Caerwen mounts his nag, and rides leisurely 
into the beautiful town of Carnarvon. 

The Tr^tth is Told 253 

Through the soft haze of the lovely September 
morning Snowdon looks almost gloomily grand, 
purple mists girdling the peak, while below, 
far below, the quaint old town of Carnarvon 
is bathed in golden sunshine. 

As Khys Griffith rides along this morning, 
the ''everlasting hills," that generally have a 
wonderful charm for him, are unrecognised. 
The glorious views, the silvery waters of the 
Seiont and the Menai Strait, are unnoticed — 
even the wayside children observe that the 
owner of Caerwen is unusually pre-occupied in 
thought as he rides by with only just a nod and 
not a word of greeting. 

Into the town of Carnarvon he rides, with a 
friendly nod to one and another, then he alights 
at the door beariug the inscription '' L. J. Prit- 
chard, Lawyer." He ties the horse's reius to 
the garden railings, and slowly enters. 

Llewellyn Pritchard warmly greets him. 

The owner of Caerwen and the lawyer of 
Carnarvon were schoolboys and playmates in the 
long ago. 

The lawyer sees that something troubles his 
old friend, but waits to hear the news. At 
last the truth is told. 

" An African ! " exclaims the lawyer. " An 
African ! I can't believe it 1 " 

" Read for yourself," says Rhys Griffith, 

2 54 ^-^^^ Black Bride of Caerwen 

The lawyer does so. 

" What a mistake," he says, shaking his hoary 

" Something must be done," says the aged 
father in mournful tones. 

''What can be done?" asks the lawyer, 
reading the letter again. " Watkin says he was 
married by the Wesleyan minister, and his 
marriage is legal, and cannot be dissolved. 
Perhaps she is a good woman after all. There 
are Christianised tribes in Africa, and — who 
knows — perhaps, she is a princess." 

" Princess or no princess, she's an African, 
and I can't abide the blacks with their rolling 
eyes and big lips — Bah ! " exclaims the owner 
of Caerwen. 

"I am very much surprised — and deeply 
sorry," said the lawyer deliberately. 

''And now I mean to cross our Watkin's 
name out of my will," says Phys Griffith. 
" Caerwen is his by right of heirshij), but the 
money I have made and saved I can do as I 
like with." 

"Do nothing rash, Pliys," says the lawyer. 

" No, no, Llewellyn. Pve thought of it ever 
since the letter did come, and I've made up 
my mind to leave my money in another way. 
By this time next week have a draft ready, and 
I will come to hear you reading it." 

Coming Home 255 

Then Ehys Griffith gives the necessary direc- 

The week passes, and once more the owner of 
Caerwen goes to Carnarvon, and arranges his will 
to his own likiog. 

Caerwen, and all the goods and chattels 
therein, are Watkin's by right, but the money 
made and saved is divided between Rhys Grif- 
fith's nearest relatives. 

Months pass, and life goes on much the same 
among the mountains of North Wales. 

March in lusty vigour sends its wild winds 
roaring around and under Snowdon, and they 
whistle loudly through the woodlands beside 

The minister of Salem is seated opposite 
Rhys Griffith, who is saying, " Our Watkin is 
coming home. He will reach England in April, 
and will come here by the first of May. I 
shall never be able to lift my head once she's 

''Better for him to have left her in Africa. 
He could have come over here for a few months, 
and gone back, and nobody would have been a 
bit the wiser," said the minister of Salem, "but 
now " 

" The truth must out, and we might as well 
let everybody know that she is a black," says 
Rhys Griffith. 

2 56 The Black Bride of Caerwen 

" A black — princess shall we say % " asks tlie 

*'No, no," says Rhys Griffith; "because per- 
haps she isn't and oh ! dear me, to think 

that our Watkin should marry a black ! " 

The owner of Caerwen wept. 

*' It'll bring my white hairs with sorrow to 
the grave ! " he adds, drying his eyes. 

And now the kindly and simple old men 
picture to themselves the African wife that " our 
Watkin " is brinm nof home. 

Rhys Griffith in fancy sees a wild half-clothed 
savage with a snowy turban on her head, and 
a tiger skin for a robe, and rolling eyes, and big 
thick lips. 

The minister sees a short and fat African, 
tricked up with European finery ; a Paisley 
shawl resembling the one his wife wears on 
Sunday — a black silk dress that "will stand of 
itself," as the women say — a Tuscan bonnet 
with purple ribbons — massive rings in the ears, 
and a big jewelled one in her nose ! 

The news soon flies like wild-fire. 

" Watkin Griffith is bringing home a black 
wife," rings along the country for miles. 

Who ever heard of such a thing ? 

A Welshman married to a black ! 

" I'd have kept the black-a-moor in Africa," 
says one, 

To-inoj'roiv / " 257 

" Or have tried to whitewash her," remarks 

"How can the Ethiopian change his skin ? " 
murmurs the minister of Salem, with folded 

''I can scarcely bear it," says Ehys Griffith, 
restlessly pacing the great hall one day during 
the last week of April 

The blood in his veins now freezes, then 
burijs. One moment an icy chill runs through 
his body, then fierce internal fires rage in his 
heart, and all the energy of his Celtic spirit re- 
volts at the thought of " our Watkin's wretched 

It is the last day of April. 

Blossoms of pear and plum, of apple and 
cherry, fill the beautiful orchards, and on the 
garden walls of Caerwen the petals of the 
peach-bloom glow like fairy fires. 

In all the hollows and sheltered places the 
primrose stars are shining, and the forget-me- 
nots look like the blue eyes of fairies by the 

The crimson \vA\t in the western distance, 
burns like the camp-fire of the Sun, the wan- 
derer — the nomad who will return to-morrow 
and fill the day with splendour. 

" To-morrow ! " exclaims the owner of Caer- 
wen, with a shiver, as, after pacing the hall, he 

258 The Black Bride of Caerwen 

resumes his seat, and waits the coming of his 
friend the minister. 

'' To-morrow ! " sighs the minister of Salem, 
as he comes through the leafy cloisters of the 

*' To-morrow ! Iss indeed, to-morrow ! " says 
the housekeeper of Caerwen, and the farm ser- 
vants begin to grin, the girls giggle immo- 

^' A black-a-moor is comiug to Caerwen," says 
one of the saucy lads. 

" 'Tis the end of the world is comin', I believe," 
says another. 

The old men are smoking their long " church- 
wardens," and now^ and again they talk of "our 

" They must save for themselves," says Ehys 
Griffith. "I've altered the w^ill. Our Watkin 
shall have his own, but the money made and 
saved by me shan't touch the fiugers of the 

" All the neighbours are surprised," says the 
minister of Salem. 

" You'll see she'll come to Salem," says Rhys 
Griffith. " I daresay she's converted. Our 
Watkin would never marry a heathen — I should 
think not." 

" 'Tis a godless age," says the minister. 
"Men and women would marry the Old Nick 

May-day 259 

himself for money and worldly gain, I 

" Ay, ay," is the response. 

The cuckoo clock strikes nine, and the mini- 
ster rises to go home. 

" You'll be here to-morrow," nervously says 
Ehys Griffith. " I can't bear up alone." 

" I'll be here," says his friend, sighing. 
" About what time ? " 

'' Eead for yourself," says the owner of Caer- 
wen, handing a letter to the minister. 

The words run thus : — " We shall post from 
Carnarvon, and reach home about half-past seven 
o'clock in the evenim^." 

''Just after my usual time for coming," says 
the minister, as with a heavy heart he says 
" Ffarwel nawr." 

" Ffarwel for the last time," he says, jogging 
down hill. " I'll never go up there once the 
black woman comes. He " — meaning Rhys 
G-riffith — "must come to see me." 

It is May-day. 

Away in the distance Snowdon looks bold 
and almost defiant, while sunshine and shadows 
meet and mingle in the magnificent lowlands 
of Carnarvonshire. 

Early in the morning the inmates of Caerwen 
are astir. Preparations are being made for the 
reception of the bridegroom and bride. 

26o The Black Bride of Caerwen 

Such a bride ! 

Heavy- voiced and sad, as one who has a 
leaden sorrow in his heart, the owner of Caer- 
wen gives directions for the reception of the 
home- comers. 

Now he paces the hall and the courtyard. 
How slowly he walks ! The feet that would 
have fleeted swiftly to meet the coming of " our 
Watkin " move in a flagging w^ay, and the eyes, 
instead of sparkling and beaming with joy at 
the return of the wayward wanderer, are dull, 
spiritless, and fixed on the road leading to 

It is six o'clock, and Ebys Griflith goes in 
to shiver and feel chill, or to burn with the 
burning of a fever. His pipe is laid aside, 
and, in his loneliness and sorrow, he strokes 
the old house-dog that is stretched across the 

A few tears trickle from his eyes. 

They are tears of joy and sorrow. Joy 
because "our Watkin" is coming home; sor- 
row because of the calamity in the person of 
a black bride. 

In the remote district of Wales, the people 
have a deeply-rooted antipathy to marriages 
with the Eno-lish, not to mention "foreigners." 
They like their sons and daughters to marry 
their own country folk, and it is considered 

They Co7?ze / " 261 

lucky not to have to change the surname in 

At seven o'clock the minister of Salem ar- 

For nearly half an hour the two old men sigh 
and groan, and conversation is conducted chiefly 
in monosyllables. 

" It is a thousand pities that our Watkin 
ever went abroad," says Ehys Griffith. 

" It is, indeed ! " responds the minister. " But 
it can't be helped. ^ What God has put together 
let no man put asunder.' " 

He says this clasping his hands prayerfully. 

"They come!" exclaims the housemaid, who 
has been doing duty as sentinel. 

Ehys Griffith seizes his stick and stands firmly 
in the gathering shadows of the old hall. 

The minister of Salem supports him. 

" They're passing the church now," cries the 

" They'll soon be here," says the housekeeper 
from her position in the porch. 

The clatter of horses' hoofs are heard in the 
great courtyard. There is the sound of many 
scampering feet, and the slamming of the car- 
riage door, and '' our Watkin " enters the 

'' My father — where's my father ? " he cries 
eagerly, as he greets the old housekeeper. 

262 The Black Bride of Caerwen 

Kliys Griffith comes forward from the shadows 
and clasps his son in a close embrace. The 
miDister of Salem does the same. 

But the bride — what of the black bride ? 

The owner of Caerwen asks for her. 

She comes, smiling and radiant, towards the 
old man. She comes — the African comes and 
places her small white hands in Khys Griffith's 
broad palms, and then, child-like, she lifts her 
face up for a kiss as naturally as if the old man 
was in truth her own father. 

'' I can't understand," says Ehys Griffith, like 
one spell-bound, looking into the blue eyes of 
the lovely little lady before him. 

" Neither do I," says the minister of Salem. 

" What is it ? " asks '' our AVatkin." 

" I thought you married — you told me you 
had married an African," says Rhys. 

'' I thought the same," says the minister. 

" So I have married an African," says Watkin. 
'' Alice, my dearest, you are an African, are you 
not — a real born African ? " 

'' Oh, yes," she answers. " 1 was born at the 
Cape. My father was born at the Cape too." 

" And I made sure that our Watkin had 
married an African woman, an " says Rhys. 

" A black-a-moor," interrupts the minister un- 

" A black wife ! " exclaims Watkin, burstinsf 

Bride and Bridegroom 26 


into laughter. " Oh, Alice, Alice, the fun of 
it ! They have been expectiug to see a 
black ! " 

The bride and bridegroom laughed heartily. 

And now, good but simple old men, in 
shame they look at each other, and when the 
first astonishment is over, they too laugh 

All their fears are at an end. All the sorrow 
is supplanted by joy. For, iu stead of a black 
bride, a merry golden-haired and lovely new 
mistress has come to Caerwen. 

It is the third day of May. 

Like a sunbeam, Alice the bride flits about 
the house, to the delight of everybody. 

Rhys Grifl&th rides in to Carnarvon to alter 
the will, "without knowing to anybody but 
the lawyer," as he says, and the new will 
is made wholly in favour of the heir of 

" Our Watkin " has made what is called a 
good match. His wife is the daughter of 
an English merchant, whose father was the 
officer of an English re2:iment stationed at the 

Years pass — Rhys Griffith is gathered to his 
forefathers. Watkin and Alice are surrounded 
by a troup of merry children, whose laughter 
makes the old hall rins when their father 

264 The Black Bride of Caei^wen 

tells them the story of the black bride of 

Not even the ruins of Caerwen now remain, 
and the last of the race of Griffith died a 
bachelor, and was buried in Carnarvon church- 

Bounb for Xianbovcrp 

NE cold aud rainy evening, in the 
autumn of 1546, three travellers bound 
for Llandovery lost their way, and 
when night-fall came they approached a lonely 

It was in a very desolate neighbourhood, and 
appeared to be the only house for many miles 

"What are we to do ? " asked one of the tra- 
vellers, whose name was Roger. 

''Beg shelter at this farm for the night," said 

" Or walk on, and try to find our way to 
Llandovery," said John. 

"We can't do that," said Eoger. "See, the 
night comes on apace, and it promises to be very 
dark. There will be no moon either." 

"Let us knock at yonder door," said Timothy, 
who promptly suited the action to the word. 

"We be three benighted travellers," said 


2 66 Bound for Llandovery 

Timothy to the good woman who answered the 
knock, ''and we would fain have shelter and 
rest for the nig^ht." 

*' Can't have it here," said the dame snap- 

" But we be three honest men, and not rogues," 
said Roger. 

"And bound for Llandovery," added John. 

" Then you'd best go to Llandovery," said the 
irate dame, slamming the door in the strangers' 

" What shall we do ? " asked Roger. 

" We can't go on, and 'tis too dark to turn 
back," remarked John. 

" I see a way out of the difficulty," said 
Timothy. ''Yonder is a cart- shed. Let us 
take shelter there." 

They did so, and found sufficient straw to 
form a rough bed. But the men were both too 
tired and too hungry to sleep, so they lay 

In about an hour's time a lantern-light flitted 
across the yard, and presently the men heard 
three raps at the house door. From their 
position and proximity to the house, the men 
observed that the door was thrown wide open, 
and who should enter but the village priest. 

" Welcome, Sir priest," said the dame blandly, 
and in silky tones. 

What a Feast was There ! 267 

" Welcome, my daughter," was the response. 

Now it chanced that the kitchen window 
was ouly partially curtained, and Timothy, ever 
full of mischief, crept upon his tiptoes and 
peeped in. 

What a feast was there ! 

The table fairly groaned with tempting viands. 
There were roast goose, partridges, a capon, 
rich puddings, and dainties of all sorts. To 
crown all, and in the midst of these good things, 
there stood a huge flagon filled to the brim with 
civriv da. 

It was very exasperating to see a feast within, 
Avhile those poor travellers sufi"ered from hunger 
and cold without. 

Timothy felt quite angry ; in fact, he had 
'' half a mind " to rush in and make a raid upon 
the o'ood thinsfs. 

By-and-bye he observed that the dame of the 
house and the priest repaired to another apart- 
ment. Timothy told his companions that they 
had gone into the " dining-room," because he 
noticed the maid '' carried the food after them." 

"It is enough to make a man mad," said 
Roger, who was a noted eater. 

" To think that theij may ' eat, drink, and be 
merry,' " said John, " while we are left to die 
— so far as she cares — is, to say the least, 

268 Bound for Llandovery 

Id about fifteen minutes after the feast went 
into the apartment known as '^ the hall," rather 
than the dining-room, the good man of the house 

Before he could reach the door, Timothy 
stepped forward, followed by his companions. 

'' Good sir," said Timothy, " we be three tra- 
vellers, and have lost our way to Llandovery, 
kindly give us shelter for the night." 

" Whom do ye go to see at Llandovery ? " 
asked the farmer. 

Timothy gave the name of their friend. 

"I know him well," said the farmer. ''Come 
in, come in, all three of you. I would not have 
my friend and thine think I am ' short ' to any 
benighted traveller." 

The three men were most thankful, only 
Timothy winked when he saw that all traces of 
supper had been cleared from the kitchen. Still 
more surprised was he, on entering the dining- 
room or hall, to see the table cleared, and to find 
that the priest had made his exit. 

All had been secreted when the farmer's foot- 
steps were heard. 

" Come around the fire," said the farmer 
kindly. " Thee'rt all cold, and I should say 
well-nifdi famished." 

The men confessed they were. 

"Now, Betsy," said the farmer to his wife, 

'^ A Trick or Two /^^ 269 

"let's have the best of what there is in the 

" I've only got bread and cheese," said Betsy 

''Well, let's have that, and some civriv da,'' 
said the farmer. 

The three men were only too glad to have 
anything, and as their host was very generous 
with the ale, they consumed a considerable 

After supper the farmer begged the men to 
draw around the fire. 

The farmer then said he had seen some amus- 
ing tricks played in the neighbouring village, 
and that was the reason he came home so late. 

'^I know a trick or two also," said Tiuiothy. 

The farmer was '"' all alert." 

"Let's have them," said he. 

Timothy, in great solemnity, muttered " Abra- 
cadabra'' thrice, and then said, "Shall I tell 
thee what is in this house that thou know'st 
not of?" 

" Ay, ay," said the farmer. 

"Well," said Timothy, "there's a fine fat 
goose in yonder cupboard." 

He pointed to the cupboard on the right- 
hand side of the fireplace. 

" And what else ? " asked the farmer. 

" Partridges," replied Timothy. 

270 Bound for Llandovery 

" What beside ? " asked the host. 

" A ^WQ fat capon." 

" Anything else ? " asked the farmer. 

" Yes : rich puddings and dainties of all 

Betsy could not stand this, so she made her 

*' Now, thee must prove thy words," said the 

" Eoger," said Timothy in a tone of authority, 
'' get the goose out of yonder cupboard." 

Roger did as he was bidden, and the other 
dainties were produced in quick succession, after 
which the company sat down and supped to their 
hearts' content. 

While the host and his guests proceeded with 
their supper, the goodwife of the house fretted 
and fumed in the kitchen. 

"What shall I do?" she whispered to Jane 
the maid. 

" About what ? " 

" The priest, girl — the priest ! " 

" Bother the priest ! " exclaimed the maid 
impatiently. " Why do you have him here at 
all ? You know the master objects." 

" Because he is a Protestant — that's all, and 
I've been brought up in the faith of my fathers !" 

" Well," said Jane, " and where is the priest ?" 

'• In the cupboard on the left-hand side of the 

A Cloud of Feathers 2 7 1 

cliimneypiece, to be sure — where else could I 
thrust him at a moment's notice like that ? " 
said the mistress. 

''Among all them feathers?" exclaimed the 
maid. '' Why the poor man will be stifled, as 
sure as I'm a livin' woman." 

Jane worked upon the feelings of her mistress 
to such an extent, that the good wife of the 
house was in a fever of excitement. 

" What if he should be stifled ? " she mur- 
mured, and presently began to cry. 

Meanwhile, the men in the hall were enjoying 
themselves finely. 

Presently Timothy's mischief could no longer 
be restrained. He began to wonder where the 
priest could have been, as he thought, " stowed 
away." Soon afterwards he fancied he heard a 
movement in the cupboard beside which he sat. 

'' Mine host," said Timothy, '' before retiring 
for the night, I would fain put a poker in the 
fire, and therewith warm a portion of my beer." 

" Thee can'st put the poker and the shovel 
in the fire, if it doth please thee," said the 
farmer, who was astonished, almost dazed, at 
Timothy's '' tricks." 

When the poker was perfectly red-hot, Timothy 
quietly took it out, and slightly opening the left- 
hand cupboard, placed it therein. Immediately 
the company saw a great blaze, a cloud of feathers, 

272 Bound far Llandovery 

and out of the midst of all, the priest rushed like 
a madman, yelling with might and main. 

The farmer hastened after the retreating^ fio-ure, 
but the terror-stricken jjriest, half-suffocated, and 
quaking with fear, ran out of the house as fast 
as his legs could carry him. 

Next day the three men proceeded on their 
journey to Llandovery, and when they parted, 
the farmer warmly thanked Timothy for his 

Never again was the Church worthy seen in 
the farm, and whenever the subject was men- 
tioned, at home or abroad, Betsy always persisted 
that the strauge and " wicked " travellers had 
conjured up " the fiend," although her husband 
believed it to be the village priest. 

'^was In SSeaumaris Bai? 


HE King's Head was a wayside hostelry 
when George the Second was king. 
William, commonly called Billy Prosser, 
was master and owner thereof, and also of three 
schooners and a barque that plied up and down 
channel with passengers and merchandise. The 
hostelry was known as the King's Head. It 
was a queer quaint place, well known to His 
Majesty's naval officers, for though Billy fre- 
quently secretly dealt in contraband goods, he 
had been a Jack Tar who had served his 
monarch in many a battle. He had lost a 
leg in the King's service, and was disabled for 
future action. So he settled down at the 
King's Head, and started a line of trading 
ships, which proved of great service to Wales. 
It was a week before Easter, the officers of 

2 74 ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay 

the Stag sat smoking and drinking grog — Billy 
knew so well how to mix grog ! 

Arnold St. John was not a heavy drinker, 
and while sipping his grog he looked out. 
Into the bay came a sloop. Presently all eyes 
were fixed on her. Telescopes were quickly up- 
lifted. In came the sloop rapidly, and was 
soon riding at anchor in the bay. Later on 
the captain of the sloop came to the King's 
Head, and asked Prosser if he could accommo- 
date two ladies and an old gentleman until the 
storm ceased. The captain was a Liverpool 

" They begged a passage up, an' I couldn't 

" Certainly not," remarked Billy, drawing tlie 
captain aside. " Have they got money ? " 

" Plenty, my boy. He's a doctor — of laws, 
mind you — from somewhere in the Gower land." 

"All right, run 'em in, my boy." 

The officers of the Stag were on the alert 
for the visitors, who soon entered the best 
parlour of the King's Head. Billy, after the 
fashion of those days, explained who the visitors 
were, and then quitted the room. 

" Most pleased to have the honour of meeting 
His Majesty's representatives," said courtly Dr. 
Gibbon of Khossilly, " in the dim land of Gower." 
He was a descendant of the old Norman Gibbons, 

''It is a Wild Night " 275 

who had married and intermarried with the 
Welsh until they boasted of a long line of 
Celtic ancestry. " Gentlemen," added Dr. 
Gibbon, '^ allow me to introduce you to my 
wife and daughter." 

Very soon the officers were doing their utmost 
to entertain the visitors. 

The gloomy afternoon waned. " Whew ! " 
whistled the wind around Beaumaris. " Hiss- 
hiss ! " went the waters among the rocks of 
that wild Welsh coast. Darker grew the 
clouds and whiter gleamed the waves that 
rolled mountains high. 

" It is a wild night," remarked Dr. Gibbon, 
when candles were brought in. 

''Likely to continue wild, I fear," said Captain 
Vasey of the Stag. " I trust the weather Avill 
not inconvenience you, sir." 

"Not in the least. We intended spending 
Easter in Liverpool on our way to Scotland, 
but having found better company, I shall gladly 
remain here." So the party settled down, de- 
termined that whether the storm passed or not, 
Easter would be spent at Prosser's. 

" Do you play ? " Arnold St. John was asking 
Miss Gibbon; "will you have a game of chess 
with me ? " 

" With pleasure," said Miss Gibbon. 

By this time Dr. Gibbon was deep in politics 

276 ' Twas in Beattmaris Bay 

with the commander of the Stag, leavmg one of 
the officers to entertain his wife, and Lieutenant 
St. John to amuse Miss Gibbon. 

" III Beaumaris Bay," said St. John in a 
low tone to his companion. Miss Gibbon's 
eyehds drooped, and she blushed. ''Isn't it 
strano-e ? " contiuued St. John. 


"It is," demurely remarked Miss Gibbon. 

" Do you remember our last meeting here % " 

"Do I ! can you ask ? " replied Miss Gibbon 
somewhat reproachfully. " But don't let my 
father know that we ever met before." 

"Oh no," said St. John. "But he kuows 
you were here last summer ? " 

"No; it was quite by accident that my 
cousin's ship put in to Beaumaris, and were it 
not for a threatening storm, I " 

" You would not have been in Beaumaris Bay, 
neither would I have known that you existed." 

"Prosser does not recognise me," remarked 
Miss Gibbon. 

"That's a comfort," said St. John. "Do 
you know I have often thought of coming- 
down to Khossilly, especially when we have 
passed your shores. You know why I wished 
to come ; why " 

" Hush !" murmured his companion, " you will 
rouse suspicion." 

"But I told you that when promotion came 

A mold St, John 277 

all should be right for us. Now — well I mean 
to tell him. At least I'll do so before we 

" St. John ! " 

" Ursula ! " 

"Your playing is excellent," said St. John 
with a smile, as Dr. Gibbon approached 

"And yours is very clever," responded 

Did they mean the game of chess, or the 
game of playing at being strangers? Their 
smiles were too pleasant to be caused by a 
mere game of chess. Next day when they 
were sitting at dinner (people dined at two 
o'clock iu those days), St. John proposed taking 
Miss Gibbon down to the shore for a walk. 
The wind had not ceased, but there was a lull 
in the rain storm. Tliough the waves were in 
riotous confusion, a walk along the shore would 
be invigorating, if not wholly pleasant. Dr. 
Gibbon readily granted the request, but Mrs. 
Gibbon demurred. 

"It may be agreeable to a gentleman," she 
said, "hardly so for a lady. But of course 
you can please yourself, Ursula." 

St. John noticed that a fiery light leaped 
in Ursula's dark eyes, and her lips quivered, but 
she remained sileut. When dinner was over 

278 ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay 

she quietly turned to St. Joliii^ and said, '' I 
will join you in a few minutes. 

The lieutenant was amazed at her self- 
possession, for he saw plainly that Mrs. Gibbon's 
words conveyed a desire to thwart Ursula's 
intentions. St. John's heart beat with rapture 
when Ursula joined him, and they both walked 
rapidly to the shore. 

'' What a relief, what a pleasure ! " exclaimed 
Ursula, as the wind blew keenly against her 
face. Her eyes sparkled with dehght. 

'' Mrs. Gibbon hates me to have one moment's 
joy," she added. 

" Why do you always speak of her as Mrs. 
Gibbon?" asked St. John. 

" Because she's not my mother. She's only 
father's wife, and — and " 

Ursula dropped her voice to a whisper, 
which the winds would have conveyed away 
had not St. John bowed his head so low, 
that his lips almost touched the girl's beautiful 

"I verily hate her," said Ursula. 

So warmly did she express her dislike, that 
St. John, smiling, said, "If you can hate so 
well, tell me how strongly do you love \ " 

By this time they had turned the cliff 
point, and were quite out of sight of the King's 

'' Can yoti Wait?''' 279 

In a momeDt Ursula was clasped in St. 
John's arms. " Darling, darling," he said, 
''tell me you love me. Tell me that after 
months of absence you haven't forgotten ? " 

"St. John, dear St. John," said Ursula, ''I 
love you. You know I do. I never, never 
could forget you." 

" Heaven be thanked, my darling," he said, 
kissing her again and again. 

"Presently they began to be aware that 
twilight was creeping apace, and a. dense white 
fog came quietly rolling up the bay. 

" Never mind, dear," said St. John. " I 
am with you. Besides which I must tell you 

He took Ursula's arm under his, and com- 
menced retracing their way to Prosser's. 

"Ursula, dear," said St. John, "I am very 
poor, and couldn't marry for quite a year 
hence. Can you wait — will it weary you ? " 

" No," replied Ursula bravely. 

" Promotion will come in a year's time, and 
then — then I can claim you," said St. John. 
"Meanwhile, may I tell your father?" 

"Oh yes," replied Ursula. "'But don't let 
father know we have ever met before." 

So it was arranged, and during the next day 
Dr. Gibbon was consulted. 

" I strongly object to my daughter marrying 

2 8o ' Twas ill Beau77iaris Bay 

anybody but a Welshman," said Dr. Gibbon. 
'' We were originally Normans, but from the 
Conquest downward the Gibbons have not 
broken the record. And I much dislike — nay, 
I oppose my daughter — she shall not go out of 
the beaten track." 

''I am of Welsh lineage too," said Arnold St. 

" How so ? " queried Dr. Gibbon sharply. 

"I am one of the St. John's of Bletsoe — 
surely, sir, that is enough. Nearly all my 
ancestors were Welsh to the backbone." 

This put the young man's proposal in a 
different light. 

Dr. Gibbon then inquired into the young 
man's prospects, and after duly considering 
them, he said, " Come to me at the end of one 
year from this date, and if you are then 
both of the same mind, I will see wdiat can 
be done. But do not live upon the least 
shadow of a hope. Until then, Ursula must 
be free." 

Ursula and St. John were somewhat dis- 
appointed, but, after all, they came to the 
conclusion that Dr. Gibbon did so for the best. 

" There is no need for a formal engagement," 
said Ursula on Easter Sunday, as St. John 
walked with her from morning service in the 
parish church. 

For Ever I'' 281 

" I knew that," said St. John, " but " 

" Surely you can trust me ? " said Ursula, 

"My darling, T never could doubt you." 

Later on, towards twilight on Easter Sunday, 
they went down to the shore, and talked of the 

''It won't seem long to me," said Ursula. 
"Even though we shall not meet, I shall always 
be thinking of you." 

''Nothing shall ever come between us," said 
St. John, " I— I swear it ! " 

"And I will be true to my troth, yes, for 
ever ! " said Ursula. 

"For ever!" responded St. John. 

" For ever ! " shrieked the wind. 

''Ever!" muttered the echoes among the 
distant caves fringing the lonely shore. The 
tide breaking beyond the bay sighed sadly, and 
the wave- wafted response of the Menai Strait 
came brokenly from the dim sea-distance. 


June revelled among the roses in the lovely 
land of Gower. Midsummer mists hunof around 
the sheep-walks, and broad belts of sunshine 
fell across the Oxwich Salt Marshes. 

On Worm's Head the sun's burning rays 

282 'Twas in Beatimaris Bay 

withered up the grass and embrowned the 
pastures. Rhossilly's barometer, commonly 
called the Devil's Blow - Hole, was silent. 
June hushed the premonitor of storms, and 
not even an ominous sound broke the silence. 
Far away Carreg Cennin reared its head in the 
golden sunshine, and Ehossilly lay bathed in 
a flood of o^lorious lio^lit. 

It was the last day for the Gibbons to 
remain at The Grange. The old home was 
in the hands of the money-lenders. Dr. Gibbon 
sat down and wept. His tears rolled to the ' 
ground. The house held for centuries was 
no longer his own. If Ursula married the 
Welshman, who had gotten his gold in far-off 
climes, all would be right. But the lieutenant, 
the adventurer, as Dr. Gibbon called him, 
who had promised to claim Ursula, was an 
obstacle to all desires. 

" He'll never turn up," said the doctor. 
" It's more than two years since w^e saw him. 
If he thought anything more about you he'd 
have been here before this." 

" I still have hopes," said Ursula. 

"You are a perfect fool!" exclaimed Mrs. 
Gibbon savagely. " Who but you would see 
your aged father turned out of his home when 
it is possible to save him ? " 

"Marry Lloyd Pryce ! " exclaimed the doctor 

In the Land of Gower 28 


vehemently, adding somewhat proudly, " Any 
girl would willingly consent to become Lady 
Pryce. Marry Sir Lloyd — marry him and 
save me." 

Dr. Gibbon fairly sobbed. 

" I cannot," sighed Ursula. 

'' It will be the death of me to go heuce — 
nay, it sliall be. Do as you please, giul — 
marry Lloyd Pryce, or see a Gibbon buried 
on the cross roads, with a stake run through 
his corpse ! My life is naught to me ! " 
> Her father's agony was more than Ursula 
could endure. Where was St. John? — why, 
oh why did he tarry ? Yet, if he came, could 
he save her father \ Li the hour of sorrow 
her heart failed her. Perhaps St. John had 
forgotten her ; and if so — well, it mattered little 
who became her husband. She went out 
moaning into the sunshine. '' St. John — St. 
John ! why don't you come ? " Slowly, as one 
in a dream, Ursula mechanically wandered along 
the sheep-walks tow^ards Worms' Head. " Oh, 
my love, my love ! " she cried, " why don't 
you come ? — why have you broken your troth ? 
— what shall 1 do without you ? God give 
me strength to drain this cup of gall ! " 

" Miss Gibbon ! " exclaimed somebody behind 

" Sir Lloyd ! " she responded. 

284 ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay 

Sir Lloyd Pryce was by no means an un- 
pleasant man. His manners were those of a 
gentleman, and there was a sadness in his 
tone that won Ursula's pity. 

" I am sorry to see you thus," he said. 
"You know what I told you a few days ago, 
dear ? I am quite prepared to keep my part 
of the compact. Promise to be my wife, and 
I will rescue the old home from the money- 
lenders. And I love you, child — oh, so dearly ! 
Heaven knows I speak truly, Ursula." 

They were walking slowly along the sheep-walks 
where the June sunbeams glared mercilessly down 
upon the parched grass and sun-scorched ferns. 

" One day more at Rhossilly," Ursula men- 
tally uttered aloud. "My poor father — it will 
break his heart I " But mentally she pursued, 
" Oh ! St. John — St. John ! why do you tarry ? " 

Then she sank down upon one of the ridges 
and wept — wept bitterly. 

Lloyd Pryce was deeply distressed. 

He was by nature most gentle and refined, 
and a woman's grief always sorely touched him. 

"Ursula," he urged, "child, I can't endure 
you to suffer. AVill you not trust yourself to 
my keeping \ " 

"My life, perhaps," she said, "but not my 
love — never expect that." 

''I do not ask it, but will try to win it — 


Sii^ L loyd Pryce 285 

try to merit it. Will you be my wife, Ursula ? 
Tell me, dearest ! " 

Then, choking one deep agonising sob, she 
said, " To save my father, I will." 

Lloyd Pryce gently drew her towards him, 
and fain would have pressed his li23s to hers, 
but she quietly thrust his arms from around 
her and said, '' Don't — you mustn't." 

'^ As you wish, dear," said Pryce. " But I 
love you more than life, and I wall do my utmost 
to make you happy." 

Sir Lloyd Pryce knew nothing of Lieutenant 
St. John. Dr. Gibbon had kept that episode 
a profound secret. 

So they walked homeward, Ursula wishing 
that the sun's fierce glances would wither her 
life, as it crushed out the existence of the 
ferns and grasses around her. 

At The Grange gateway they met the doctor 
striding rapidly towards the village. 

" Father ! " she cried, seizing his arm. 

There was a fierce unnatural light gleaming 
in his dark eyes as he angrily thrust her away 
from him. 

" Get away. You are no longer my child ! " 
he exclaimed. " A truly dutiful and unselfish 
daughter you are ! " 

"Father!" she gasped, " Sir Lloyd will tell 
you all. Spare mo — spare me." 

286 'Twas in Beaumaris Bay 

With that she darted indoors. 

Sir Lloyd Pryce quickly informed Dr. Gibbon 
of the change in Ursula's plans, and before the 
day died, all arrangements were made for paying 
off all the debts and retainino' the old home. 


" I never can be sufficiently grateful to you," 
said Dr. Gibbon. 

''It is for her sake/' said Sir Lloyd, '' I love 
her as I love my life." 

He spoke the truth. From the first moment 
he met Ursula he was determined to try and 
win her. His countrywoman's youth and beauty 
had first attracted him, but her true worth he 
preferred above all. 

Sir Lloyd Pryce was a merchant prince and 
slave-owner. Jamaica was his birth-place and 
home, but having, as his uncle's successor, 
become possessed of an additional fortune and 
the family title, he was obliged to return and 
settle, for a part of each year at least, upon 
the ancestral estates which were in North 

In a few weeks' time Ursula became Lady 
Pryce, and the moment after writing her maiden 
sio^nature for the last time she heard the bells 

Ursula entered the carriage, put her fingers 
in her ears, and crouched back. 

How those bells mocked her ! 

Urstila tJie BiHde 287 

Every tone struck out the death knell of her 

" Untrue to your troth ! " they seemed to 

*' False, fickle, fair, false ! " they seemed to 

"Oh those bells — those cruel bells!" sobbed 

" For ever — for ever ! " moaned the bells. 

Clatter, clatter went the hoofs of the horses 
along the sun-parched highway, every hoof- 
beat causing Ursula's head to ache as though 
it were pierced with the sharp spikes of a 
thorny crown. 

Crowds of villao'ers and visitors, even stranorers 
who chanced to have business in the neis^hbour- 
hood, thronged the roadway leading to The 
Grange. Ursula shuddered as the carriage 
slackened its speed. 

"Let the peoj)le see you," said Sir Lloyd. 
" They are longing to get a smile." 

Ursula looked out. What did she see ? 

A vast crowd surs^ino; around the carriag;e. 
Yes, and a stalwart horseman standinsf beside 
his horse, which was reined up by the village 

Who could it be ? 

She had seen the face before. If only he 
would remove his slouched hat ! 

288 'Twas in Beattmaris Bay 

Takinof a red rose from his coat, the horse- 
man strode to the carriag^e, and tossed the 
flower lightly into Ursula's lap. This action 
remained unobserved by Sir Lloyd, who was 
giving directions to the postillions. 

Ursula shuddered. She dared not look up. 
The horseman came to the carriage window, 
doffed his hat, and respectfully offered his 
congratulations to the bride. 

"Too late," he whispered in a hoarse tone, 
reproachfully adding, ''you might have waited!" 

" Find out all," gasped Ursula. " Don't judge 
me harshly." 

The horseman vanished. Later on he "found 
out all," and immediately quitted the village. 

"St. John— St. Johu," sighed Ursula. "Oh, 
my love ! my love ! You were true to me, after 


Sir Lloyd and Lady Pryce were staying at 
The Grange. Frequently since their marriage 
Sir Lloyd had gone away and left his wife to 
herself for many weeks. On one occasion he 
remained three months away, and once he went 
to Jamaica, staying there for more than three 
months. Ursula had no objection to his absences, 
but during the last two years of her life she 

In the Firelight 289 

had tried to solve tlie reason of bis flights. 
Still she failed, utterly failed in her object, 
and still her husband remained kind, loving, 
and gentle to her. * Sir Lloyd was very quiet 
and grave, the most suitable companion that 
could be found for Dr. Gibbon. His utterance 
was generally subdued, and his conversation 
full of thought, yet his friends and his wife 
owned to something about him which they 
could not quite like — a something which in 
an inexplicable way repelled them. He was 
passionately fond of music. Ursula had a rich 
thrilling voice, and often in the twilight Sir 
Lloyd would have his wife sing to him, her 
voice seeming to rise and fall like wind sighing 
among snow-encumbered trees. It possessed a 
poignant sweetness, and she sang the songs 
in which his heart delighted with exquisite 
expression. Those were happy hours to Sir 
Lloyd — ^they were too precious, he said, because 
they made the hours when he was away from 
her too s^reat a contrast. 

" Oh, Ursula, come here," he said one Decem- 
ber afternoon. 

She had been singing to him in the twilight. 
It was intensely cold, and the fi.relight shed a 
witching glamour around Ursula Pryce's face 
and figure. Slowly, but steadily, the snow- 
flakes were falling on the frozen earth, and 

290 ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay 

ominous clouds fleeted across tlie waniiig crimson 

'' Ursula, dearest," said Sir Lloyd, looking 
lovingly at his young wife, who was gazing at 
the sea that always cruelly seemed to mock her 
broken troth. 

" Yes," she replied calmly, not coldly. 

*' Ursula dearest," he continued, going to her, 
and clasping her in his arms. 

" What is it ? " she asked. 

" I shall be obliged to go away to-morrow 
dear, and " 

" To-morrow % " she said. 

There was a slight sound of fretful disappoint- 
ment in her tone. Could it be jDossible, thought 
Sir Lloyd, that her feelings were changing, that 
his wife began to cherish, or ever so faintly to 
welcome, his love ? 

''At last I at last!" he uttered passionately, 
as he kissed her uplifted face. 

Ursula was amazed. 

"Darling — darling," said her husband. "It 
seems so strange to hear you express regret at 
my leaving. I have hungered for your love 
so long — so long. It seems so hard to have 
to go to-morrow — now that I have attained you. 
Ursula, I have won heaven, and you arc its 
only angel for me. My precious wife, how I 
love you." 

The "• Dofuin ica'' 291 

Ursula was surprised at her husband's out- 
burst of feeling. Her manner mellowed to him, 
for though she had no love for him, his love 
of her was surely w^orthy respect. She knew he 
loved her deeply. Laying her hand gently on his 
arm she said, "Can't you defer going now?" 

" Darling — darling, I wish to heaven I could, 
but I cannot. Business has to be accomplished. 
Ah, God ! why can't it be deferred ! " 

Sir Lloyd clasped his wife closely in his 
arms and kissed her again and aojain. Then 
calmly he said, " My own precious wife, there are 
important matters to settle. I will return as 
soon as possible, but probably not before March." 

" Going so suddenly," mused Ursula. Then 
she remembered that her husband always went 
away at a moment's notice. 

" Never mind, dear. If I can possibly return 
before March I will," said Sir Lloyd. 

In half-an-hour he was ready for the journey. 

He would go to Swansea and there em- 
bark on board his own ship, the Dominica, for 

"As we sail down channel," said Sir Lloyd, 
" I will keep a good look-out for you. If the 
weather permits, go to the top of Worms' 
Head and wave a white kerchief — will you, 

" I will," she said. 

292 ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay 

"And I will wave mine in return," said Sir 
Lloyd. " Now, sweetheart, adieu, adieu ! " 

In deeply passionate tones he once more told 
her of his love, clasped her in a close embrace, 
and kissed her red lips again and again. He 
looked at her with hungry love, kissed her hand 
lightly, and departed. 

As he walked out through the doorw^ay he 
muttered, " Ah God ! why can't it be deferred ? — 
cursed fate that wrests me from her now, now 
of all times 1 " 

Ursula and the servants distinctly heard his 

'' He loves me deeply," said Ursula. " I 
must be a good wife to him, for the sake of his 
great love." 

On the afternoon of her husband's departure 
it ceased snowing. Two days' subsequent frost 
had hardened the snow's surface, so that it was 
possible to walk with comfort. 

Ursula started for a walk. 

" Where are you going ? " asked the doctor. 

''To AVorms' Head," she replied. "Lloyd 
and I are o-oins: to sio^nal to each other." 

" Oh, oh, I merely asked," said the doctor, 
delighted to find that, after all, the marriage 
had brouo^ht love. 

Had it ? Ursula could best answer that 

Rho s silly s Barometer 293 

Lady Pryce hurriedly wended her way along 
the sheep-walks, and soon gained a secluded and 
sheltered spot on Worms' Head. For six weeks, 
and ever since Ler arrival from North Wales, 
she had sought that nook almost daily at all 
hours. Sometimes it was night when she came, 
and only the glittering stars knew of her 

''Why did she come? Why— why ? " asked 
the waves as they laughed down on the shore. 

"Why — why?" screamed the sea-gulls as 
they sought their nests in the clefts of the 
terrible cliffs. 

Dark clouds fleeted across the sky and pro- 
mised more snow. The wind whistled and 
howled ominously through the caves along the 
shore, and Rhossilly's barometer roared. 

Ursula drew her red-hooded cloak closely 
around her skirts and shivered. She stamped 
her feet to keep them warm. 

Presently she was joined by a stalwart man — 
the horseman of her wedding day, the admiral 
of all her dreams. 

'' So he's gone again," said he. " Ursula, are 
you prepared for strange news ? " 

" Have you found out ? " 

" Yes." 

'' And who is it — what's the — the other wife's 
— the Jamaica wife's name ? " 

2 94 ^ Twas in Beatimaris Bay 

For Ursula had come to the belief that her 
husband had another wife out in Jamaica. 

"Ah," said St. John, "you — both of us have 
judged him harshly. There isn't another wife 
at the bottom of it, after all. I discovered it 
most oddly. Think of it — I have been more 
than a year trying to ferret out his secret, 
and now only obtained it by sheer accident. 
Have you ever asked why he goes away from 
you { 


" Do you mean to tell me that he has never 
hinted why ? " 

"Certainly not." 

" Well, Sir Lloyd Pryce is liable to temporary 
but terrible fits of insanity. When they ap- 
proach he places himself under restraint. They 
occur about twice a year. He is quite sensitive 
of their approach, and prefers giving himself 
up to his doctors than alarm his friends. Dur- 
ing his father's lifetime in Jamaica a private 
keeper used to attend him. Since his father's 
and uncle's death. Sir Lloyd has adopted a new 

" My husband a madman ? " said Ursula, in 
an incredulous tone. 

"Yes. Would you know where he is now ? " 

" Until I do — until I see him mad, I will not 
believe," said Ursula. 

A Bridegroom s Madness 295 

'' You must leave all arrangements in my 
bands, or your father will be suspicious," said 
St. John. '^A letter shall come asking you to 
join your husband in London. I will meet you 
at Swansea and accompany you to town. I 
shall still keep up my disguise. AVhen can you 
go ? Next week ? " 

'' Not next week. That's too quick. What of 
the second week hence ? " 

" Very good," said St. John. 

" There ! " exclaimed Ursula — '' There — there's 
the Dominica, I'm sure. See, he's waving his 
kerchief, St. John ; please wave mine in return. 
I have no strength to do it." 

St. John did as he was bidden. 

''All the same," he said, ''I don't believe it's 
the Dominical 

"Nonsense, it is," said Ursula. ''Now go — 
St. John, go — or I shall get mad too." 

" Meet me here to-morrow," he said. 

" I will." 

Ursula's heart throbbed wildly as she returned 
to The Grange. If her husband were really mad 
could she live with him any longer ? Never ! 
And yet — there, she must not indulge in a wild 
reverie. She was as firmly manacled by the 
bonds of wedlock as any living woman. Death 
alone could set her free. One afternoon, later 
on, Ursula went as^ain to Worms' Head, there 

296 'Twas in Beaumaris Bay 

once more to meet St. John. This time she 
allowed him to clasp her in his arms, to kiss 
her once for the old love's sake. Just one dear 
delirious afternoon, after long years of pain, of 
heartache, of sorrow. St. John might have 
tempted her to forsake her husband, but he did 
not. He w\as too chivalrous for that. Yet, 
when she sought his help to find out the cause 
of her husband's absences, he willingly assisted. 
His love for her had never waned ; hers for him 
had increased through the years. Yet never 
was there a more noble, honourable affection 
than that which existed between Ursula and 
St. John. 

"Many men w^ould ask you to forsake Sir 
Lloyd," said St. John, " but I could not. Such 
a sin would be monstrous. Darling — my lost 
love — yon are Sir Lloyd's vrife. Nothing but 
death must divide you both." 

Then they parted. 

"Good-bye, my love," said St. John, as he 
watched Ursula going down the ridges. " May 
Heaven protect her through the dreary and — 
perhaps dangerous future. It is well she should 
know, lest, in a sudden seizure, he might be 
tempted to harm her. Dr. Grifiith was right. 
She ought to know the truth for her own 
safety's sake." 

Ursula, after descending from Worms' Head 

What Horror was before Her? 297 

by the sheep-walks of old, paused where the 
road led to the village. " It's only four o'clock 
now," she said, looking at her watcb. "A walk 
will do me good. I shall only be an hour later." 

The risiuo^ breeze was life-o^ivingf, and it brousfht 
fresh vio^our to the woman who breasted it. 

Ursula walked on. 

Not that she had jDleasure in doing so, but 
because she was urged by a terrible unrest that 
would no longer let her remain in one jDlace for 
any length of time. 

Her husband a " madman ! " 

It seemed too terrible, but was there any 
truth in it ? Perhaps it was only a ruse on St. 
John's part to get her away from her husband. 
Yet, so far, she never had reason to doubt St. 
John. At all events, she must be on her cruard. 

Suddenly a wild piercing cry, like that of an 
animal run to earth, only much more terrible, 
sent a horror through her blood and made her 
recoil. As she did so something darted at her, 
and a man's fingers gripped her throat. 

'^ Let me go," she gasped, seizing the man's 
hands with a grijD of iron. 

"Never again !" yelled the man, whose arms 
she had seized. 

What horror was before her ! 

Distorted as the face looked, she knew it to be 
her husband's. 

298 'Twas in Beaumaris Bay 

She knew it was him, even though the 
new moonlight was pale, and the passion-filled 
face was only partially distinct in the weird 

His face appeared terribly changed. The 
eyes seemed to protrude unnaturally from their 
sockets, and had in them a frenzy and terror 
pitiful to behold. 

Ursula felt she must assert her self-control. 
Madmen's frenzies had been assuaged by strategy. 

" Lloyd," she cried, '' speak to me. Tell me 
why I see you thus ? " 

Sir Lloyd released his hold upon her throat. 

^^ I am your wife," she said gently, sooth- 

For answer, he seized her in his arms, kissed 
her passionately, and fled. 

She followed him swiftly, tearing her gar- 
ments among the brambles as she crossed the 
lonely heath. 

Through the weird light she ran breathlessly, 
though her husband was soon far ahead of her. 
A few seconds later and she lost sight of him. 
He had escaped her. Where was he hiding 
now ? 

Then she became afraid, and dreaded the snow- 
filled hollows on that lonely heath, lest her 
husband might once more wait for her among 
the brambles, only to spring upon her again, 

'' It's all over with Him " 299 

and perhaps murder her ! She paused to take 
breath, and to consider what had better be done 
under the circumstances. 

Suddenly the click of a pistol rang through 
the air, and before she could reach the hollow 
where her husband had disappeared, three men 
stood beside him as he lay prone on the snow. 

'' It's seldom he has such a bout as this," 
said one of the men, when Ursula came to the 
spot where they stood ; '' and he's never run off 

'' What is the matter ? " asked Ursula. 

''This gentleman (he's quiet now) met us in 
Swansea, then escaped. He's been wandering 
for a couple of days. We've found him here 
at last, having tracked him all the way from 

A gentleman rode up. 

'' I see you've found him," he said to the 

" Yes, sir ; but he's quiet now. It's all over 
with him." 

''All over!" exclaimed Ursula. "What do 
you mean \ " 

" That— that " 

" Speak out, man. Is the fit over ? " asked 
the gentleman. "Madam," he added, address- 
ing Ursula, " this unfortunate baronet escaped 
my care. He is subject to fits of temporary 


oo ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay 

insanity. This attack has been sharper than 
usual. Indeed, I fear it is not yet over, though 
the men assure me it is. This poor gentleman 
ought to live a life free from any excitement, 
either pleasant or otherwise." 

'' He is married," said Ursula, in a dazed 

" Married ! " echoed the doctor. 

" He is my husband," added Ursula. '' Did 
he never tell you of his marriage ? " 

*' No ; it's the first time I've had him under 
my care," said the doctor. " I merely took 
charge of him for Dr. Griffitli, who has attended 
him for years, but just now my friend is some- 
what seriously indisposed." 

" It's all up with him, sir," said the men. 

The doctor went to tlie baronet, who still lay 
prostrate on the snow. 

" He's shot himself," they said. 

Ursula shuddered. 

" My good madam," said the doctor. " All 
his wanderinof fits have come to an end. Sir 
Lloyd Pryce is dead — he has died by his own 
hand ! " 

The click of the pistol that Ursula had heard 
a few minutes previously proclaimed her hus- 
band's death-warrant. 

*'God be thanked that he has not injured 
anybody else," said the doctor. " And to think 

A Tragic Ending 301 

he was married too — might have shot you, dear 

Ursula crept to her husband's side aud kissed 
his forehead, while her tears fell keavily and fast 
upon the frozen snow. When least expected, 
death had divided them, and in the early days 
of her widowhood, Ursula felt deeply grieved 
that her handsome husband's history was so sad, 
and had such a tragic ending. 

In a year and three months after Sir Lloyd 
Pryce's death, St. John and Ursula renewed the 
troth they had plighted in Beaumaris Bay. 

Zhc Scarlet IRibbon 

-SH ! " muttered Ditty Morgan, rock- 
ing herself before the fire. 

" Why ? " asked the slumberous girl 
sitting^ on the settle. 

" ' Teir nos ysprydion,' " murmured Ditty 
under her breath. 

" ' One of the three spirit nights,' " echoed 

" Tick ! — tick ! — tick ! " went the eight-day 
clock, while every lattice rattled, and snow fell 
so heavily, that it promised to be deep for the 
New Year's Eve service. 

"Why are you listening'?" asked Winnie, 
starting. " It is only the gwynt traed y meirw !" 
(wind blowing over the feet of the corpses). 

" Pw — no!" said Ditty solemnly, as she 
leaned her elbows on her knees, and buried her 
withered face between her hands. 

'' What is it then, boba ? " (grandmother) asked 

' * Nothing comes of It'' 303 

" anwyl ! anwyl ! " added Ditty, moaning 
and looking into the fire. " 'Twas the cyhyraeth. 
Didn't you hear it comiii' with the wind ? " 

"No," responded Winnie. 

" Whew ! whew ! " whistled the wind, respond- 
ing to the roaring waves among the desolate 
cliffs and crags of Glamorganshire. 

" There 'tis agen," sighed Ditty, '' the cyhy- 
raeth moanin' up an' down the road. W^e shall 
have sickness in the place, or some trouble." 

" Boba ! " exclaimed Winnie. 

" Fy mlentyn, fy mlentyn bach ! " (my child, 
my little child) replied Ditty, " I do never feel 
afeared of the Almighty's warnin' ? Something 
will surely happen before loog." 

" You always tell us something will happen," 
remarked Winnie, " but nothing comes of it." 

" Nothin' ! what about years ago 'fore you was 
born \ " 

" What happened then \ " 

" Well, I was comin' home from chapel with 
your mother, an' I did see with my own eyes 
an angel going in front of us. ' Leave it pass,' 
ses I to your mother. ' What pass ? ' ses she. 
' The angel,' ses I." 

'* Did mother see it ? " 

" I b'lieve so, only she wouldn't own to it." 

" And then ? " 

" As I was tellin' you, the angel went in front 

304 The Scarlet Ribbon 

of us an crossed the bridge. She had beautiful 
shinin' wings, an was carryin' a babe in her arms. 
' Look,' ses I to your mother, and 'fore we 
could turn, the angel went up an opened our 
window, an the next minit she did come out by 
the front door." 

" What of that ? " asked Wimne. 

" Well, the angel didn't come out alone." 

" Who came with her ? " 

" She was leadin' a young ooman out — 'twas 
your own mother, an' 'fore the week's end, you 
was born, an she was dead." 

Winnie, shivering, crept closer to the fire. 
It was a relief to her to hear a distant voice sing- 
ing one of the sougs that used to be sung while 
ploughing with oxen in Wales. 

"It's Llewellyn," said Ditty. 

" Llewellyn, indeed !" exclaimed Winnie. " I'd 
know Llewellyn's voice a mile off," and tripplDg 
lightly to the door she saDg a milking song. 

" Well done, Winifred — well done !" shouted 
Ishmael Williams, the bard, as he paused to shake 
the snowflakes from his coat. " Where's your 
father ? " 

" Gone to chapel." 

" Are you going too ? " asked Ishmael. 

"Yes," said Ditty, and presently the trio were 
trudging through deeply drifting snow to the 
service held on New Year's Eve, to watch the 

The Cyhyraeth 305 

coming of another year. What a service ! 
Simple yet grand, a service of song and thanks- 
oivino[ in the cold loneliness of nio;ht and wintei*. 
in desolate, snow-bound Wales. 

" H — sh ! " cried Dittv, as her orand-dauo^hter 
led her up to her own home, where refreshments 
would be ready for everybody. 

"Why?" asked AVinnie. 

" The cyhyraeth — the cyhyraeth ! " cried Ditty. 

Winnie paused and listened. The wind 
whistled throus^h leafless trees ; wild waves 
roared, and the river rushed dark, almost black, 
between its margins of snow. 

As a voice from the dead — a hollow sepul- 
chral voice, came Ditty's half sobbing tones in 
broken accents — '' The cyhyraeth moanin' on the 
shore do mean more corpses ; on land, fever or 
trouble— trouble to a many of ns. H — sh ! there 
'tis agen 1 " 

" Whew ! wh — eh ! " whistled the relentless 

" Dewi (David) Jones, perhaps you'll favour 
us with a song," said Isaac Morgan, the sexton, 
rapping the table with his unstrung bow. 

" Ton my word, I did never try a song but 
two times in my life," was the reply. 

" When did you try % " asked the rector, 
seizing his flute. 

3o6 The Scmdet Ribbon 

" Wlieu Ned my brother was married, and 
when Job my cousin did come home from sea. 
No : I keiit sing," said Dewi, mopping his face 
with a red kerchief, and looking sheepishly 
towards the table whereon Winnie placed glasses 
of metheglin and bowls of flummery for her 
father's guests. Observing Dewi's glance, Winnie 
offered him refreshment. 

" Dewi bach," said Ishmael Williams, known 
among bards as ''Eos Morganwg" (Nightingale 
of Grlam organ), " why, man alive, don't eat 
flummery before you sing." 

"More you do fill me the better 1 ken sing," 
said Dewd, encouraged by Winnie's glances. 

" Nobody can sing with a throatful," said 
Isaac Morgan. 

" Come you," said Ditty, " don't you mind 
'em. After a long ride, a drop o' meth will warm 
you a bit," so she poured out a glassful, and 
Dewi drank it at a draught. 

"That's uncommon good," said he, mopping 
his face. 

" Now then, now then," clamoured the in- 
creasing company. 

" What is it to be ? " asked the sexton. 

'' Well, to be shure— an' if I must sing I must. 
Now, what d'ye say to Merch Megan ? " 

" Dewi," exclaimed Ishmael Williams ; " do 
you want us to lose our hearing ? " 

Songs and Hymns 307 

" I ken sing that better nor no thin'," persisted 

" But the song is not the right pitch for your 
voice," remarked the rector. 

" Well, I ken sing it high — high up or low 
down, down in a whisper if you do like," said 

*' You've a marvellously convenient voice," 
said Ishmael, "but, Dewi, my boy, if you sing 
that, you'll " 

'•' Show how anshient you be sometimes in 
tellin' of people who kent sing, an never a word 
'bout them as ken sing." 

What did they know of his singing ! Then 
to the accompaniment of the sexton's fiddle, the 
parson's flute, and the bard's harp, Dewi began. 
Leaning forward in his seat, he clasped the table 
with a clutch that seemed immovable. Loudly 
and powerfully he sang — his roar rattled the 
windows, and shook the rafters. 

That this song should be followed by a hymn 
was by no means an unusual event, for Welsh 
gaiety is never unbridled, its gravity is seldom 


"Will you give out a hymn?" asked the 
rector, addressing a dissenting farmer. 

" If you will be good enough to join in, I will 
give out a hymn, an' help as far as I can," said 
the farmer, standiug up and leaning his hands 

3o8 The Scarlet Ribbon 

on the back of a neighbour's chair. '' Next 
paage to the Kiver, common mater (metre)," 
said he, for the benefit of those who possessed 
hymn-books. Then he recited the whole hymn, 
and repeated the first verse a second time. 

Lustily the thirty or more persons present 
sang the popular hymn, while the farmer swayed 
his body to and fro "like a sea-lion," as the 
sexton remarked. The hymn was re-demanded, 
then followed songs and sweet peimillious with- 
out number. 

''Winifred," said the rector, "come here. It 
is your turn now." 

Winnie was missing. 

Not a few seconds previously she was among 
the girls, clustering around the three-legged 
oaken table. 

" Winifred !" shouted Ishmael Williams, open- 
ing the kitchen door. 

" Winifred ! " cried the women from the 

"Winnie — Winnie Morgan!" shouted the 
girls, going out into the snowy roadway. 

One of the girls lingering after the others 
beyond the gate uttered a cry of surprise. 

" What is the matter — what is it ? " asked 
her companions. 

" The scarlet ribbon ! " 

How they fluttered around it. 

Is it You f " 309 

To whom did it belono^? 

There was no time for sfuessinor. Voices and 
revelry echoed through the midnight air, and 
presently the girls rushed into the house to 
escape the Mari Llwyd and its revellers. 

No further heed w^as taken of Winnie's 
absence by the guests that night, only the 
rector going homeward through the churchyard 
fancied he saw her flitting down the riverside. 
Turning his lantern light across her path, he 
said, *' Winifred Morgan, is it you? You here 
at this time of night, and alone ? " 

Quick as lightning the girl, without replying, 
darted past, leaving him to wonder if it could 
be Winifred at all. '* It must be," he said, 
*' and yet " there was a rustling sound be- 
side him, as half in fear, half in bewilderment, 
the rector hastened home, for the small hours 
of the morning were advancing, and as yet high- 
waymen and footpads had not ceased in the 

Away, down through the churchyard, and 
into the lane w^ent Winifred Morgan, never 
pausing a moment, but running breathlessly 
towards the hills. At every turn along the 
frozen ground treacherous snowdrifts impeded 
her movements, still she ran and soon reached 
a riverside hollow. Threading her way through 

3 1 o The Scarlet Ribbon 

a snowy thicket she entered a solitary cavern, 
where, in flickering torchlight, a crowd of people 
stood listening to a speaker who was just con- 
cluding his speech. His striking resemblance 
to Winifred could not fail to be noticed — the 
dark eyes and hair, the quick and active manner 
touched with hauteur, inherited from one of the 
princely tribes of Wales — revealed the kinship 
existing between Llewellyn Gwyn and Winifred 

" We are poor," exclaimed Llewellyn, "over- 
worked, badly paid, our lives are altogether 
wretched ; we have no representation, and are 
oppressed by privilege and the aristocracy. 
Who looks after us ? So far as the State is 
concerned we are not looked after at all, but 
live neglected, despised, and crushed. The 
rights of man are denied us, the rights of labour 
are thwarted ; we are bowed down with sorrow, 
but are we o:oinof to continue thus ? Are we 
going to remain voiceless slaves ? — a race of 
miserable creatures, afraid to enforce the rights 
of labour, or to demand the People's Charter ? 
Why do the aristocracy and the ofiicials oppose 
us ? Why, lads ? Because our Charter will give 
us better food and wages, lighter work and 
liberty! Listen, lads — you that can't read 
English, but can speak and understand a good 
deal — here are the six points of the People's 

The People s Charter 3 1 1 

Charter. Manhood suffrage, vote by ballot, 
annual parliaments, abolition of the property 
qualification, payment of members, and the divi- 
sion of the country into equal electoral districts. 
We want a share of the law-making power ; we 
want the middle and working classes represented ; 
w^e want the People s Charter made law ; and, my 
lads, we mean to have it. Come, my countrymen, 
be prompt in action, be determined, and we shall 
soon see the day when this mighty Charter will 
be part of our constitutional system ! Lads, 
come up without delay, and sign the People's 
Charter ! " 

Loud applause followed the speech, and in 
less than ten minutes thirty \Yelshmen had 
enrolled their names or marks to the People's 

Winnie eagerly listened and waited for the 
speaker to cease, then, stepping a pace forward, 
she whispered " Silence ! " 

In a moment the crowd became a mute group 
of downcast faces, over which slouching hats cast 
grim shadows. A moment later, extinguished 
torches smouldered on the ground, among snow- 
encumbered boughs and tangled brushwood that 
vainly struggled to surmount the deepening 

With sono^ and merriment the Twelfth Nio^ht 
revellers and roysterers wended their way down 

3 1 2 The Scarlet Ribbon 

liil], under the snow-crowned crag^s and beetlinor 
rocks fringing the riverside, and, as they passed, 
one of the cavern-hiders said, '^ It's only the 
Mari Llwyd." 

Until the Mari Llwyd party were well out 
of siHit and hearino:, . the cavern crowd re- 
mained silent, and were about to relight their 
torches, when Winnie said, " Idris, and sons of 
my countrymen and friends j^r^sent — beware ! 
Dewi Jones is in my father's house — he means 
no good. Go home while there is safety; I'll 
take care of the messages." 

If the Chartists had dared, clieers would have 
echoed and re-echoed for Winnie, but silence and 
mystery attended these nocturnal meetings, and 
only a subdued murmur of emotional applause 
greeted the girl. 

In the dark starless nig^ht the Chartists dis- 
persed, and Winnie returned home to find the 
house unexpectedly quiet, and its door locked 
ao^ainst her. 

"This is Dewi's work," she muttered, "but 
I'm not afraid of him.'' 

She rapped loudly, and soon obtained admission. 

"Winifred!" angrily exclaimed her father, 
" where have you been ?" 

No reply. 

" Answer ! " he thundered. 

Still she remained silent. 

The Angered Sexton 3 1 3 

" This isn't the first time you've bin an' 
gODe," continued her father. " To-night every- 
body was wonder in' where you w^as. Winifred, 
if you don't tell me where you've bin, and w4iat 
youVe bin doin' till this time 0' mornin', I'll — 
I'll be the death of you ! " 

Winnie remained speechless. 

" Won't you tell me T shouted the angered 
sexton, dragging her to the settle. 

He threw a brand on the smoulderimr fire, 
poked it, and a lurid flame leaped upward, 
lighting the room with its garish glow. 

" Winifred," he said, looking steadily into her 
face, which was ujDlifted and pallid, " if you 
don't tell me what your night tricks an' the 
like be — if thou wilt not confess wdiat do take 
thee out o' nights uncommon often of late, I'll — 

there, I'll " The sexton was too exasperated 

to conclude that sentence, and Winifred remained 
unflinching while her father resumed speaking. 
'' It's for no good whatever, an if it had pleased 
the Lord to spare your poor mother to me, you'd 

no more be out of a night at all hours 

There, I'll tell Parson Llewellyn of thee. If 
there's one thing I kent abide, it's a ooman 
given to night tricks, for its a sbure sign they 
be goin' to the pit as fast as Satan ken take 'em. 
Now^ then, maid, what 'ave you got to say for 

314 The Scarlet Ribbon 

'^ Nothing," replied Winnie. '^ I have done 
no harm, and can come to no danger." 

" No danger,' hissed a husky voice from the 

Winifred started. 

Even her father looked surprised, for he ima- 
gined and hoped that Dewi Jones was asleep. 
Fire-flames leaped and flung long shafts of light 
across dark shadows beside the settle. In that 
light stood Dewi Jones, who, in sinister tones, 
repeated — 

" No danger in having dealings with Chartists, 
eh ? " 

" None whatever," said Winnie, confronting 

"No danger meetin' Chartists, in carryin' 
messages to and fro between hot-headed dema- 
gogues like Llewellyn Gwyn and his crew ! " 

Isaac Morgan stepped a pace backward, still 
clasping Winnie's shoulder with a firm grip, 
under which the girl winced. He looked into 
her faced and asked, " Is he speaking truth ? 
Art thou a friend of Chartists ? Dost thou 
dabble thy fingers in that black puddle of 
iniquity ? " 

'^ The scarlet ribbon ! " exclaimed Dewi. " See 
— she wears it ! " 

With a fierce gesture her father tore it from 
her breast. 

" The Lion of Freedom " 315 

'' She made a banner for them," continued 
Dewi ; " an' what's more, there's a song of hers 
sung by the Chartists." 

"A sonsf of Winnie's ? " asked the sexton. 

" Iss ; ' The Lion of Freedom,' " replied Dewi. 
'' These are the very words — 

' The Lion of Freedom is come from his den, 
We'll rally around him again and again ; 
We'll crown him with laurel our champion to be — 
O'Connor the patriot for sweet liberty ! ' " 

Dewi Jones paused. 

^' Go on," said Winnie. " There are three 
more verses. You're a capital reciter." 

'' So thou art a Chartist ! " murmured Isaac 
Morgan, in sad, subdued tones. ''A dealer in 
devilry, riot, an' godless doin's. Gell, hast thou 
too renounced thy God to keep covenant with 
demons? Go, — to me thou art my daughter 
no longer, but Winifred Ddu now and for ever- 
more ! " 

Dewi Jones watched her between the light 
and shadows as a lion watches prey. 

" I have not renounced my God," said Wini- 
fred Morgan. "All Chartists are not unbe- 
lievers ; Llewellyn is not, neither am I." 

It was twilight. Ditty crooned by the fire- 

3i6 The Scarlet Ribbo7i 

side : '' I did know trouble was comin' to many 
of us. The cyliyraetli do never moan for 
nothin' ; but O anwyl, anwyl, tliat I should 
liave lived to see this day, au' Winnie a 
Chartist ! " 

" Times is bad, an them Chartists do make 
a sight of damage an' havoc 'mong honest people 
who ought to be livin quiet at home, instid of 
jauntiu' 'bout the country," remarked Dewi 
Jones. '' But don't you bother about Winnie — 
she's right anuff." 

Winnie, singing a milking song, passed to the 

'' Come here, AVinnie," shouted Dewi, and soon 
from the dairy Winnie came. 

" Sit down here on the settle by me," said 
Dewi. "I do want to have a lid die talk with 

"What is it?" she asked. 

" Where's Llewellyn Gwyn ? " 

" I don't know," replied Winnie. 

" Don't know wdiere your lover is," said 
Dewi smoothly. 

"My lover! My cousin, you mean," said 

" Iss, your lover. I do know all 'bout it. 
You did take a sig^ht of trouble to throw me 
over for him." 

" Throw you over ! Dewi Jones, I never 

Dewi Jones 31? 

knew you to come a-courtiu' me I " exclaimed 

" Never kuew ! Pw — , Winifred Morgan . 
You did know all along that I was for you, an' 
that your father' d never go agin the match." 

Winifred laughed outright as Dewi continued : 

" If you didn't understand me, t wasn't my 
fault. Well now, Winnie, listen. There's the 
liddle farm at Gellygaer, an' properties down 
'bout Aberavon, an' my mother's house to come 
after her in Llantrissant, an' then I was thinkin' 
we could go and live up in the hills. I got a tidy 
an respectable general shop with the butcher's 
business up in Dinas, an' — pw — , gell ! you don't 
know half what I've got ready for you. It's 
only for you to say the word, an' we'll be one." 

Ditty only half heard what was going on, 
and still sat crooning in the corner. 

" Now or never ! " said Dewi. 

" I'm a Chartist," replied Winnie. 

" Never mind," said Dewi ; " you wont be a 
Chartist when you're Mrs. Dewi Jones. Listen, 

He drew forth from his prodigious pocket an 
equally prodigious bag, and shook it before her. 
How the money jingled, rang, and danced in 
that wonderful bag ! 

" Let's have more light on the subject," said 
Dewi, and Ditty stirred the fire. 

3i8 The Scarlet Ribbon 

*' Here ! " exclaimed Dewi, liftiDg the round 
oaken table nearer the glow. " Come here, 
Winnie, an' count the money. There's three 
hundred pounds in hard cash, an' more at home 
in the till ; an' — wait 3'ou a bit — I've a couple 
of notes or so 'bout me. Look here." 

Dewi drew forth a roll of papers from an 
inner coat pocket, and placed them among the 
golden sovereigns that were lieaped upon the 

Winnie glanced down, peered at the notes — 
just a glance, no more ; before Dewi could stay 
her, she snatched one of the papers and threw 
it into the fire. 

" There ! " she exclaimed ; " that's my answer 
to your love-making ! " 

"Are you mad?" asked Dewi. "It's fine 
work to take valuable papers an' throw them 
in the fire. Never mind, Winnie ; you an' I'll 
be married yet. When you're Mrs. Jones, 
you'll learn to respect them bits 0' paper an' 
me too." 

For a moment he paused and fumbled with 
other papers in his pocket, while Winnie stood 
speechless and triumphant before him. Dewi 
proceeded to examine the contents of all his 
pockets. " There's the lease, an' there's the will, 
an' there's the mortgage deed — but shure anutf 
I've left it upstairs. 'Tis a mistake to make 

The Warrant 319 

love ill the middle of business. Wait a minute, 
Winnie, an' I'll go an' look for it." 

He darted away, and returned sayiog, " It 
must be here, for 'tisn't upstairs. P'rhaps 'tis 
with the notes. Fuming and fretting he re- 
examined the papers, and suddenly looking up, 
shouted, almost raved, *' What 'ave you been 
an done ? — you've ruined me for life — 
you've — " 

" What is it ? what is it ? " asked Isaac 
Morgan, coming from his workshop, and quaking 
with fear. 

" The warrant — she's been an' destroyed the 
warrant," shouted Dewi. 

" What warrant ? " asked the sexton. 

"The warrant for the arrest of Llewellyn 
Gwyn," said Dewi. 

" Llewellyn Gwyn — what has he done % " 

" Treason," hissed Dewi. 

Winifred Moro^an lauo^hed. 

" H — sh ! " said Isaac Morgan angrily. " You 
may laugh if you like, but 'tis no laughing 
work. D'ye know what you've bin an done ? 
The law will have a hold on you " 

"As soon as Dewi tells — Oh, I am ready for 
that," said AVinnie merrily. 

" You kent be my flesh an' blood," said Isaac 
Morgan tartly, as Winnie, turning to Dewi, 
remarked, "You're helpless now." 

The Scarlet Ribbon 

He began to rave at her. 

"H — sh!" she said, "don't expose your loss. 
Take it quietly, beau up like a mau, and all will 
come right in the end." 

"Wait till morninV' said Dewi, "we'll see 

For in truth the man was too bewildered to 
know what to think, or tell the girl who had 
outwitted him. 

Sijow covered the Welsh mountains, and filled 
all sheltered nooks from deep dingles fringing 
the Severn Sea, to ravines penetrating the fast- 
nesses bordering upon Breconshire. All the dim 
land was snow-bound, and the coaches failed 
to run. The earth was one vast waste of 
untarnished snow, hiding hedges and even 
thickets with its hard-frozen foldings. Frozen 
so hard was it that in most places, horses and 
foot-passengers could travel with tolerable ease 
and security, but all vehicular traffic had ceased. 
People complained about the weather just as 
they would if it had been a wet winter, or an 
unusually mild one. Snow was tiresome, but 
then, so would rains and floods have been, and 
a milder winter would have reaped a harvest of 
ingratitude, for which even swallows coming 
earlier could not atone. 

It was a winter of unusual severity and 

Chartism 3 2 1 

distress ; grumbliDg and discontent had set 
their cruel fangs upon the class described by 
the French as ProUtaire, and there seemed to 
be no antidote for the poisonous virus, which, 
going down deeper and deeper, threatened to seize 
hearts, and thwart their better feelings. 

Fierce, fitful flames of Chartism leaped and 
throbbed among the populace, gaining fresh 
vigour here and there, penetrating remote parts of 
Wales, bringing votaries from nearly every town, 
village, and hamlet in the principality. Men 
of education, ability, and eloquence, impassioned 
poets and bards, quickly gained hearers, and 
were surrounded by throngs of earnest and 
devout fanatics, all enthusiasm, yet thoroughly 
sincere. Feargus O'Connor, the renow^ned and 
once dreaded leader of Chartism, hatched plans 
and concocted schemes which were amplified or 
simplified as occasion or locality demanded, 
while leaders and sub-leaders led little groups 
of Chartists from out-of-the-way villages and 
towns ; and later on, when agitation had assumed 
a more active form, the schemes which began with 
Birmins^ham demonstrations and Leicester meet- 
ings ended in Newport riots. Even now, though 
the influence of Chartism has passed away, and 
people are enjoying three gained points of the 
People's Charter, many are living to tell of 
thrills that ran throuo^h their hearts when 


32 2 The Scarlet Ribbon 

Chartist secret meetings had not developed into 
riots ; long before Frost, Jones, and Williams 
paid penalty to the law, which afterwards gave 
them their vote by ballot, manhood suffrage, and 
the abolition of the property qualification. 

Llewellyn Gwyn was shepherd of a little 
Western Wales fold of Chartists, members liviiio: 
between Cardiff and Swansea, not higher among 
the mountains than Diuas, nor nearer Mon- 
mouthshire than Caerphilly. He had been 
scouriug the villages for many weeks, steadily 
gaining converts, while, wherever he went, 
people soon flocked around him. He could 
sway them with his eloquence, his strong 
biblical quotations smote their souls, causing 
hearers to sigh, sob, and weep, as though their 
hearts were broken. In his speech people 
discovered omens of doom, and could hear the 
rattle of eternal chains. Suddenly his mood 
would change. Freedom from shackles, pardon, 
prosperity, and heaven were offered, lifting 
listeners to heights of happiness until they 
would break forth into feelings of joy, gratitude, 
and unutterable emotion. 

Just six weeks after Dewi Jones entered the 
lists of Cupid, he made up his mind to " turn 
Chartist," for he declared " 'Prhaps Winnie will 
come to in a bit, an if I was a Chartist 'tis like 

Llewellyn Gwyn 323 

anufF my three himdrecl pound will weigh 'gainst 
Llewellyn in the end." 

Isaac Moro-an could not formve Winnie, thouo-h 
he suppressed his feelings for the sake of '' peace 
in the house," ''but/' he added, "I do fear bad 
will come of it, an if so, it must rest on their 
own shoulders." 

" H— sh ! " murmured Ditty under her breath. 
''The cyhyraeth- " 

" Whew 1 wh — ew ! " w^histled the wind. 

"Moanin' on the shore it do mean corpses — 
on land fever, trouble — trouble to many of us. 
H — sh ! there 'tis agen ! " 

Llewellyn Gwyn and Ishmael Williams entered 
the house. 

"You here, Dewi ! " said Ishmael. "Why, 
old man, people won't know you when you go 

" What about the business up at Dinas ? " 
asked Llewellj'n. 

" Leave off chaffin' me, both of you. If you 
did know what did bring me down here in such 
weathers you'd respect me." 

" Dewi," exclaimed Llewellyn, " you came 
here to arrest me ; can I ever respect you 
\ again?" 

" Not if I was to sign my name to that there 
j paper I did show you last night ? " 
"' • - Oh, oh ! " said Ishmael Williams, " if this is 

324 The Scarlet Ribbon 

the way you are going on, the quicker I get away 
the better." Calling Llewellyn aside, he added, 
" You had better 0^0 in for hidins^ now for the 
good of your country. Spies are abroad." 


"At present about five miles off. There is 
no time to be lost. Make your way to Llantris- 
saut, and I'll follow." 

'' Disguise yourself," suggested Dewi, *' or 
you'll be overtaken." 

" Eio^ht ! " exclaimed Ishmael. " Winnie to 
the rescue." 

It was but a moment's work to find apparel. 

"They'll think it's me," said Winnie, " only 
just lower your voice." 

" Don't talk of lowerin' his voice," said Dewi ; 
" you ken talk loud anuff when you do say ' No ' 
to a respectable man's offer of marriage." 

Fully equipped for his night journey Llewellyn 
Gwyn came out from the little parlour. 

"Well, to be shure, what a diff' ranee," ex- 
claimed Isaac Morgan. 

" How like Winnie ! " said Ishmael. 

" Good anto me well, if I was to meet you 
sudden round a corner I'd believe you was 
Winnie herself," said Dewi. "Winifred Morgan, 
my anwyl ! " 

" Winnie," said Llewellyn, " take care of your- 
self. I'll return when all is safe ; they won't 

Trouble to a Many of Us'' 325 

remain here long — perhaps only pass, and not 
even search here." 

"Don't be rash," replied Winnie, uplifting a 
warning finger. 

Llewellyn was accompanied through and for a 
short distance beyond the town by Isaac Morgan, 
Ishmael Williams, and Dewi Jones, w^ho said, 
"We'll go just for to make 'em b'lieve 'tis 

They had been gone but ten minutes when a 
secret messenger came, saying, " Tell Llewellyn 
they're come, an' will be down here in a twink- 

" He's gone — he's safe," said Winnie, who 
bolted and barred the door against intruders. 
"Before Llewellen can reach Llantrissant he'll 
be caught," sighed Winnie, sitting down to 
think how she could best help her cousin and 
lover. There was little time for escape, yet if 
she could only plan a ruse to thwart their move- 
ments for one brief clay ! 

" H — sh ! " moaned Ditty, "the cyhyraeth — 
there 'tis agen. On land it do mean trouble — 
trouble to a many of us ? " 

And the wintry wind whistled, blowing 
over the feet of the corpses in the churchyard, 
where the sorrows of generations w^ere re- 
corded on grey melancholy stones and crowded 
tablets fixed against the outer walls of the quaint 

326 The Scarlet Ribbon 

and lonely church beside the snow-swollen river, 
flowing dark, deep, and swiftly between its 
margins of snow. 

"Llewellyn Gwyn is taken I " was the cry, 
and all who had flocked to his fold were saddened 
and distressed. He was overtaken a mile or so 
beyond the town, and arrested for having fre- 
quently held illegal meetings, inciting persons to 
discontent and dissatisfaction with the Govern- 
ment, and charged with conspiracy and dis- 
obedience to all law and order. The scarlet 
ribbon was in his buttonhole, and upon his 
person several treasonable documents were 
found. For a night he was detained in the old 
town, whence he started for Llantrissant, and 
next morning the constable and his companions 
took him to Cardifl". Proceeding along the high 
road, with its picturesque surroundings, the con- 
stable and party, with the prisoner, passed 
through the quaint villages of Bonvilstone and 
St. Nicholas, and on to the lofty hill known as 
the Tumble, overlooking a vale almost unequalled 
for beauty in Glamorgan. Southward the Severn 
Sea glittered and gleamed in the morning sun- 
shine ; eastward Cardiff looked grey and cold ; to 
the north Llantrissant, cradled among its hills, 
nestled, as it were, under a coverlet of snow, 
while far away and beyond it, range after range 

" Stick to your Charter '^ 327 

of snowy mountains loomed gloomily grand from 
among leaden clouds that promised more snow. 

These men coming up from the west — fearing 
Llewellyn Gwyn's presence in Cardiff would 
rouse people — took all necessary precautions 
during his transit, yet on reaching the river 
Taff he was recognised by a great crowd. 

'^ lilewellyn Gwyn ! " shouted the people. 
" Speak to us." 

"I dare not," he cried, "seeing that my 
speech is watched." 

The sound of his voice, though he spoke 
quietly, caused a wild wave of enthusiasm to 
pass over the multitude, and affairs began to 
look somewhat menacing. 

" Be careful," whispered the constable. 

"You need not warn me," replied Llewellyn. 
"All I can safely tell you is this: Welshmen 
and women, whatever you do, stick to your 
Charter ! " 

Deafening cheers and applause greeted Lle- 
wellyns words, and followed him as he pro- 
ceeded to prison. 

Cardiff magistrates were inclined to be very 
lenient. So far, they saw little harm in the 
"hot-headed demagogue." Perhaps he had 
spoken unwisely, but there was only a frail 
charge against him. Still investigation was 
necessary, and Llewellyn remanded, had to 

3^8 The Scarlet Ribbon 

return to prison for a week — yet longer. Three 
weeks elapsed, and during that period the case 
assumed a formidable aspect. Several charges 
were brought against him, and eventually the 
prisoner was committed for trial at the next 
assizes. He was asked if he desired to make 
any statement previous to his return to prison, 
and, if so, to be careful. 

For a moment there was profound silence in 
court. Everybody expected a speech. Instead 
of which, Llewellyn stood up, and fixing his 
eyes upon the presiding magistrate, said, '' I am 
not guilty of the charges brought against me. 
Further, you are committing the " 

Dewi Jones' voice, from the far end of the 
court, shouted, ^^ Wrong person ! " 

What a scene in court ! People gazed and 
rubbed their eyes — even the constable who 
made the arrest looked dazed. The magistrates 
were puzzled. What could it all mean ? Dewi 
Jones was called forward. 

'' Do you know this man ? " asked the magis- 
trates. ''If he is not Llewellyn Gywn, who 
is he?" 

'' An deed shure," replied Dewi, after being 
sworn as a witness, '' you may as well ask, for 
my own eyes deceived me ; an' to tell you the 
truth plump an' plain, 'tis Winnie, Winifred 
Morgan, fy'ngariad anwyl ? " 

Winifred Morgan 329 

Winnie's gravity broke down, the gravity of 
the court was upset, while Dewi added, " If 
your honours ken keep her in prison a spell till 
she do come to, an' promise to be Mrs. Jones, 
I'd thenk you kindly, but if you kent make it 
convenient I " 

" Well done, old man," shouted somebody. 

'' Silence in the court ! " bawled the clerk. 

"If this is true," said the presiding magis- 
trate, who feared a plot in the case, "we cannot 
release the person until further proof of identity 
is forthcomincr." 

" Good anto me well ; to think they won't 
b'lieve my word on oath that 'tis Winnie," said 
Dewi Jones. 

"Man alive,''' said Ishmael Williams, "they 
don't know you!' 

" Is that it ? An' I could 'ave taken my oath 
that everybody from Din as to Swansea did 
know Dewi Jones of the Shop. An' I be a 
constable too ! " 

"H— sh!" said IshmaeL "Don't mention 
that fact. It would take the gilt off the ginger- 

There was very little time lost in identifying 
Winnie. Ishmael Williams, Isaac Morgan, and 
a host of others came forward to testify that 
the prisoner was not Llewellyn Gwyn. 

Winnie retired, and soon reappeared dressed 

330 The Scarlet Ribbon 

in her own garments, but still wearing the 
scarlet ribbon. 

'' Are you a Chartist % " asked the magistrate, 
glancing at the ribbon. 

"I am," replied Winnie, "but I do not 
make speeches," whereupon the people who 
imagined her to be Llewellyn Gwyn, cheered 
lustily, remembering her speech on entering 

" David Jones, stand forward," continued the 

Dewi obeyed. He doffed his hat, and as Ish- 
mael Williams remarked, '' revealed the anshient 
anshientness of his noble brow." 

'' If you wish to win this girl for your wife, 
you can do no better than turn Chartist," said 
the magistrate, laughing; ''but I'm afraid you'll 
find many rivals." 

" Theuk you kindly, sur, but now Llewellyn is 
gone, I've got hopes she'll come to. I ken bide 
a bit an' see how the tide'll turn." 

" How did you manage it ? " asked Ishmael 
Williams, as he accompanied Winnie home. 

" By putting on Llewellyn's clothes and going 
down the road. I knew they would take me — 
we are so much alike." 

" I do see how you ken keep a secret an' no 

Nos dydd Gal an 3 3 1 

mistake," said Dewi. " 'Tis plain anuff you was 
born to be Mrs. Dewi Jones." 

" Perhaps the cyhyraeth prophesied the death 
and burial of quaint old Welsh customs ; legends 
are becoming hoary, angels have not been seen 
in the land since Ditty saw one, and here we are 
loyal Chartists, welcoming Her Majesty's Jubi- 
lee," said Ishmael Williams. 

"We'll keep Nos dydd Galan (New Year's 
Eve) at home this year," said Llewellyn Gwyn. 

'^And make-believe we are down in dear old 
Wales again," adds Winifred Gwyn. 

The prosperous London merchant and his 
wife, surrounded by numerous children and 
grandchildren, are welcoming their Welsh friend 
and guest in old Welsh fashion. Though Dewi 
Jones is gone over to the majority — though the 
sexton's fiddle and the parson's flute have long 
been laid aside, the bard's harp is tuoeful as 
ever, but as Eos Morganwg declares, " We are 
beo-iunino: to feel the anshient anshientness that 
comes with silvery hair and failing powers." 

Zbc %CQcni> of IRbitta tbc ©iant 

(Translated from the Welsh by the late Taliesin Williams^ 
son of loJo Morganiog.) 

HERE were two kiugs formerly in 
BritaiD, named Nymiiaw and Pei- 

biaw. As these two ranged the 

fields one starlight night, ' See/ said Nynniaw, 
' what a beautiful and extensive field I 
possess ! ' 

" ' Where is it ? ' said Peibiaw. 

" ' The whole firmament/ said Nynniaw, ' far 
as vision can extend/ 

" ' And dost thou see/ said Peibiaw, ' what 
countless herds and flocks of cattle and sheep 
I have depasturing thy field ? ' 

" ' Where are they?' said Nynniaw. 

"'Why the whole host of stars which thou 
seest/ said Peibiaw, 'and each of golden efful- 
gence ; with the moon for their shepherdess to 

superintend their wanderings.' 


The Pastures of the Heavens 333 

" ' They shall not graze in my pasture/ said 

'' ' They shall,' said Peibiaw. 

" ' They shall not' said one. 

" ' They shall,' said the other repeatedly, 
in banded contradiction, until at last it arose 
to wild contention between them, and from 
contention it came to furious war, until the 
armies and subjects of both were nearly annihi- 
lated in the desolation. 

'' Rhitta the Giant, King of Wales, hearing of 
the carnage committed by these two maniac 
kings, determined on hostility against them ; 
and, having previously consulted the laws and 
his people, he arose and marched against them, 
because they had, as stated, followed the courses 
of depopulation and devastation, under the 
suggestions of phrenzy. He vanquished them, 
and then cut off their beards. But, when the 
other sovereigns included in the twenty-eight 
kinofs of the island of Britain heard these 
things, they combined all their legions to re- 
veno;e the desfradation committed on the two 
disbearded kino;s, and made a fierce onset on 
Ehitta the Giant and his forces. And furiously 
bold was the engagement. But Rhitta the 
Giant won the day. 

" ' This is my extensive field,' said he. And 
he then immediately disbearded the other kings. 

334 The Lege7id of Rhitta the Giant 

" When the kings of the surrounding countries 
heard of the disgrace inflicted on all these dis- 
bearded kings, they armed themselves against 
Ehitta the Giant and his men, and tremendous 
was the conflict. But Rhitta the Giant achieved 
a most decisive victory, and then exclaimed, 
'This is my immense field.' And at once 
the kings were disbearded by him and his 

" Then, pointing to the irrational monarchs, 
'These,' said he, 'are the animals that grazed 
in my field ; but I have driven them out — 
they shall not longer depasture there.' After 
that he took up all the beards, and made out 
of them a mantle for himself, that extended 
from head to heel, and Ehitta was twice as 
large as any other person ever seen." 

In a note to this legend the late Taliesin 
Williams says: — "It is a feature strongly in 
favour of the antiquity of Welsh literature, 
that most of the prominent characters found 
in old English and French romances and 
ballads are borrowed from it. Even the seats 
of Government, under the British princes, 
previous to the Saxon dominion, such as Carlisle, 
Caerlleon, &c., are selected as scenes of action. 
King Arthur, Queen Guenever (Gwenhwyfar), 
Sir Kay (Caihir), Glaskerion (Glas-Geraint), or 

Ki7tg Ryence 335 

Ceraint fardd Glas, or Gadair (Ceraint the Blue 
Bard of the Chair), Mordred (Medrod), and many 
others, figure in frequent recurrence in these 

The Legend of Rhitta Gawr appears in Percy's 
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, under the 
title of '' King Eyence's Challenge." It was sung 
before Queen Elizabeth, at the grand entertain- 
ment at Kenil worth Castle in 1575. In a letter 
describing these festivities, it is thus men- 
tioned : — " A minstrell came forth with a sollem 
song, warranted for story out of K. Arthur's 
Acts, whereof I gatt a copy, and it is this : — ' So 
it fell out on a Pentecost,' &c. After the song 
the narrative proceeds :—" At this the minstrell 
made a pause, and a curtezy for Primus Passus. 
More of the song is thear, but I gatt it not." 

The story in Morte Arthur, whence it is 
taken, runs as follows : — '' Came a messenger 
hastily from King Ryence, of North Wales, 
saying, that King Ryence had discomfited and 
overcome eleven kings, and everiche of them 
did him homage, and that was this : — they 
gave him their beards cleane flayne off. Where- 
fore the messenger came for King Arthur's 
beard ; for King Ryence had purfeled a mantell 
with kings beards, and there lacked for one a 
place of the mantell, wherefore he sent for his 
beard, or else he would enter into his lands, and 

7^;^6 The Legend of RJiitta the Giant 

brenn and sLay, and never leave till he have thy 
head and thy beard. Well, said Arthur, thou hast 
said thy message, which is the most villainous 
and lewdst message that ever man heard sent 
to a king. Also thou mayest see my beard is 
full young yet for to make a purfell of, but 
tell thou the kino; that — or it be lons^ he shall 
do me homage on both knees, or else he shall 
leese his head." 

In some of the old Welsh MSS. it is stated 
that " Khitta Gawr struck the ground with his 
foot till the earth trembled ! till the skies 
trembled ! till the stars trembled ! till the 
tremor ran through all the worlds unto the 
uttermost depths." 

Mantles appear to have taken a prominent 
place in Welsh romance. The old ballad of 
"The Boy and the Mantle," in Percy's Reliques, 
is based on Welsh romance, although the com- 
piler of that work says: — ''The incidents of 
the ' Mantle and the Knife ' have not, that I 
can recollect, been borrowed from any other 

Among the " Thirteen Treasures of the Island 
of Britain," was the "Mantle of Tegaw Eurfron 
(Beauty of the Golden Breast), that covered a 
chaste woman, but would not an unchaste one ; 
that would cover a truth - teller, but not a 

Xab? 3ane of Sutton 


T is a loDely spot. 

There, in the midst of swampy land, 
where hillocks of stunted grass and 
patches of broad water-flags abound, daffodils 
bloom in the early spring days, and the flowers 
of the marsh-marigold gleam serenely under the 
changeful sky of April. 

There, when autumn mists and vapours steal 
solemnly along the earth, the will-o'-the-wisp 
or jack=o'-lantern performs its wildest antics 
and dances, and hovers deceptively over every 
sedgy hollow. 

Through the centre of that marsh-land the 
rains of winter form pools, and trickling 
streamlets, and quagmires, but in summer it 
is dry and parched. 

On the borders of this marsh or swamp 
stands Sutton, now a farm-house. 

2,3^ L ady Jane of Sutton 

Even in the present day, so strongly marked 
are the traces of its ancient importance that 
it makes it a place of dreams, in which the 
mind can wander back through loDg and hoary 
centuries, and live for a season among the people 
of the far past. 

Quaint windows, great heavy and massive 
doors and doorways, a broad open staircase, 
antique hall and curious entrance — all testify 
to its former importance as a Manor House. 

It was formerly the property of the Stradlings 
of St. Donats, and there, as a rule, either the 
second son or the dowager retired when the 
new heir succeeded to the estates. 

In the days of Sir Harry Stradling — before 
that unfortunate baronet fell into the hands 
of Colyn Dolphyn — Sutton was occupied by 
Lady Jane, tiie mother of Sir Harry. 

Lady Jane was the daughter of Henry 
Beaufort, who afterwards became a Cardinal, 
and she was also the widow of Sir Edward 
Stradling, who, says the ancient chronicle, 
*'took a journey to Jerusalem, and there was 
made a knight according to the order of the 
Holy Sepulchre. On his return he brought 
with him from Italy a man of skilful hands 
in stone-carving, who made the ornamental 
columns that we see even to this day facing 
us in the walls of the Castle of St. Donats." 

In the Year 1739 339 

Sutton was one of the manors sold to pay 
the ransom to Colyn Dolphyn for Sir Harry 

Early in the last century common report 
declared Lady Jane to have been so enraged 
at the sale thereof that she died an *' unnatural 

Where, how, or when the lady died, the old 
women could not tell. It was only rumoured 
that the Lady of Sutton wandered about, 
especially when the wind was high or when 
the autumn mists enveloped the swamp. Then, 
of course, she always carried a lantern in her 
hand to guide her homeward over the morass. 

One October evening, in the year 1739, 
when the air was chill and a dreary breeze 
crept sluggishly in the highway, two men came 
along the road about a mile distant from Sutton. 
They were bound from Wick to Llandow. After 
the fashion of those days conversation turned 
to ghosts and the laying thereof 

" I'll never believe all the stories told about 
ghosts and haunted houses," said the younger 
of the two men, and the off-shoot of generations 
of farmer folk. 

^^ If you'd ever known one you'd believe in 
all of them," said the stranger. 

"Did you ever see one?" asked the young 

340 Lady Jane of Stttton 

" Did I ? " reiterated his companion in a 
somewhat sneerful tone. 

''Ah ! " remarked the stranger, " so you want 
to know more about ghosts, even if you don't 
believe in them ! " 

They were now ascending rising ground that 
led under a thicket where firs abounded. 

October was scattering its coinage of gold and 
broDze leaves upon the sodden earth, and the 
brambles were bright with their banners of crim- 
son and amber. Even the fading ferns were 
momentarily gaining fresh life from the kisses of 
the October sunset, and, as the odours of decay 
were borne upon the autumnal air, there was 
a weirdness in the subtle smell thereof. The 
young man felt that mystery clung around the 
fir branches, and the old man felt that stern 
realities are sometimes more strano^e than 

As they went deeper into the fir shadows the 
young man renewed his questions. 

" Tell me — have you ever seen a ghost ? " 

" I have," replied the old man. 

" Where— when ? " 

" In Sutton, on September the twenty-seventh 
of last year, 1738." 

" Tell me all about it," said the youth. 

"Well — to begin at the beginning — I never 
before believed in ghosts. Now don't interrupt. 

A Humble Researcher 341 

or I'll not tell you a word. You must let me 
tell my own story in my own way — or not at all. 
In January 1738, I was sent to St. Donats 
Castle on an errand for a distinguished archaeo- 
logist. Antiquai'ian research is my profession — 
if it may be so termed — and this new excursion 
had considerable attraction for me, and for more 
reasoDS than one. Strange to say, my name is 
Stradling. I was born in Coombe Hawey, over 
in Somerset — and this much I know, that I am 
one of the direct descendants of the Strad- 
lings of St. Donats. If you doubt it, read Mr. 
Pepys, and you'll find the truth. I cannot tell 
you how glad I was to be bound on a mission of 
arch geological research to the place where long 
generations of my ancestors had dwelt. My work 
would most likely occupy nine or ten months, 
and, as my patron was a very wealthy man, 
there was no reason why I should be in haste, 
I am only a humble researcher among all sorts 
of antiquities, but I love my work, though I am 
as poor as a church mouse. I thought the 
journey from Cardiff to St. Donats could not be 
pleasant, because I heard the roads were infested 
with highwaymen and footpads. Besides which 
— being a man well read in quaint lore, and 
capable of ferreting out the secrets of stone walls 
and faded parchment — I had upon my person 
several ancient documents, and sufficient money 

342 Lady Jane of Sutton 

to keep me for at least three months. Still, you 
see I had the spirit of a real old Stradling. 
Don't I look like one ? Here I am, six feet in my 
stockings, and strong and broad to boot. Not 
one of your flattened and lean-looking gentle- 
men, that dejectedly and persistently droop like 
fallen reeds against each other in our mediseval 
family pictures, nor yet like those prayerful folk 
who wandered up and down the long corridor of 
the castle in melancholy Indian rank and file. I 
am, as you see, a stalwart Briton, ready to fight any 
new Colyn Dolphyn that might masquerade his 
piratical ancestor's pranks. And it always oc- 
curred to me that if my respected ancestor Sir 
Harry Stradling, had possessed more ' gump- 
tion,' he'd not have been carried off by a sea- 
thief. But it isn't for me to talk of other 
people's shortcomings. I've always had more 
than enough of my own. 

" It was late in January, and as the evening 
was gloomy I much longed to get to the end of 
my journey. The gentleman who arranged this 
work for me had been in communication with 
Sir Thomas Stradling^ — then in France — and the 
result was, I had to board and lodge in the 

" Before I reached my destination, a clinging 
mist began to creep along the roads and a thick 
sea fog came up channel. A chilling rain fol- 

In a Strange Land 343 

lowed, and as we approached St. Donats the 
wind arose. I was somewhat awed by the soli- 
tude of the place. Everywhere the great trees 
waved their branches, stretching them forth like 
restless spirit-arms, now extended down to earth, 
then uplifted heavenward. At times the wind 
sobbed mournfully in the hollows, or shrieked 
like a sin-burdened soul fleeting away to its 
doom. Away below the clifi's, the sea grieved 
among the wave-worn crags and rocks, and from 
the Nash Sands came muttered prophecies of 
doom. Miserable enough it must have been to 
those acquainted with, and had friends in the 
locality, but still more weird was it to a stranger 
in a strange land. 

" I was glad when my guide declared we were 
neariug the castle, which in a few minutes we 
did, my advent being announced by a wild gust 
of wind that caused the old oaken doors to slam 
violently. The servants of St. Donats gave me 
a very hearty welcome, and I as truly welcomed 
the light and warmth of the spacious hearth. I 
sat talking with the good folks till long after 
midnight, and then, wearied out, I went to bed. 
The next mornino^ was one of the wildest I had 
ever seen. All along the rock-bound coast the 
waves ran in tempestuous fury, and a long line 
of surf fringed the shore far above high- water 
mark. Early in the forenoon I went to work 

344 Lady Jane of Stitton 

exploring the ancient domain. Now I tried to 
ferret out a peculiar piece of masonry, or endea- 
voured to discover the secret of some quaint old 
gargoyle, then I sought to learn the mysteries 
of the ancient Watch Tower. Those occupa- 
tions kept me at work, with intervals of rest, 
until the month of September. On the first 
day of that month I went to Sutton, there to 
inspect some ancient masonry. I slept there 
the night, and all next day went through the 
various rooms. Towards the evening of the 
twenty-seventh I was in what they called the 
' withdrawing-room,' which looked out into the 
garden. The lurid sunset touched everything 
with its crimson light. Deeply impressed by 
the beautiful sunset, I lingered at the window 
and looked out. Evening darkened into twi- 
light, and the pale crescent moon gleamed coldly 
from the rainy sky. By-and-by I became aware 
of a rustling sound in the room, but I took no 
heed of it, and when again I heard the noise I at- 
tributed it to the wing-flapping of bats, or to the 
restlessness of owls among the ivy. Presently I 
heard the sound again, but this time it was 
more distinct. I looked across the room, which 
was growing dark with sombre shadows. There 
was little to be seen — only the least faint day- 
light falling softly upon the oaken floor, and the 
shadows growing darker as they crept away into 

A Tapping Noise along tJie Floor 345 

far corners. Again I heard the noise, and 
once more I looked across the room, but without 
avaiL The noise became more distinct as day- 
light waned, and at last I began to learn what 
the sound resembled. Of all things in the world 
it fell on my ears like the trailing of silken 
robes — soft in sound, yet rustling. Presently I 
began to feel that somebody or something was 
entering the room. I felt the more certain of 
this when I heard a tapping noise along the 
floor. Tap, tap, tap, went the sound as the 
rustling garments appeared to be trailing nearer. 
I confess to a feeling of surprise and consider- 
able but subdued terror as the tapping increased. 
At last the weird sounds became distinct, though 
by no means loud. Then the tapping and the 
rustling came quite close to me. I could easily 
define the noises — high heels, silken robes. 

'' 'How curious,' I muttered audibly. Then I 
looked around. As I did so I cauo;ht sisjht of 
a long, trailing object in the twilight. My first 
idea was to peep through the window, but some 
unseen power appeared to pinion me helplessly 
beside the casement. In fact, I was impelled 
by some strange force to remain where I was, 
and to wait or even to abide by whatever conse- 
quences might follow. I soon became aware 
that a somewhat stately figure was slowly cross- 
ing the room, and in a few minutes I could see 

346 Lady Jane of StUton 

that it was robed in a trailing gown of some 
dark colour, if not black. I obtained only a 
side-view of the figure. The face was averted. 
There was a stately grace about the form, to 
which I already attributed the supernaturaL 

" ' It must be a family ghost,' 1 muttered. 
' If so, I shall be glad to make its acquaintance.' 
You are astonished, young man, at my compo- 
sure. Well, I had been used to wanderings in 
strange places and among strange people. I 
had seen halls that were reported to be haunted, 
and if ever a ghost had visited the earth I felt 
that I would be quite as ready to bring my 
antiquarian abilities to bear upon it as upon 
illegible legends and secret-keeping stones. At 
last I felt compelled to speak. The silence, the 
suspense were unbearable. ^ Who are you ? — 
where did you come from ? — whither are you 
going ? ' I asked in quick succession, but I failed 
to gain a reply, and, as I spoke, the figure 
vanished. A few minutes later I heard the 
sounds of tapping footsteps and the rustling 
robes dying in the distance of the corridor, 
whither I followed them. But now all was 
silent — not a sound to be heard but the owls 
hooting and the loud flapping of bats' wings 
in the night-air. That night and for several 
more I kept my counsel, fearing to be made the 
victim of laughter. 

Lady Jane s Ghost 347 

" In the course of a few days I once more saw 
the apparition, and then I asked the inmates 
about it. 

'' ' You've seen her/ said my host. 

'' ' Then she's well known,' I remarked. 

" ' Yes ; it's Lady Jane's ghost. She always 
appears before a death in the family. And now 
there'll be no rest till the person is dead.' 

^* ' Dear me,' I remarked, smiling. ' Then let 
us hope the individual, whoever he or she may 
be, will soon depart this life, for our sakes at 

*' My remark was received by my host with a 
shake of the head, which denoted disapproval 
at my seeming levity. AVe were sitting on the 
quaint oaken settle before the fire. Eight across 
the kitchen long dark shadows fell, while smaller 
and more grotesque shadows crowded around 
the ancient furniture. Towards these the fire- 
light danced and leaped in maddened ecstasy. 
All the shadows grew smaller as the fire-flames 
grew fiercer, and by-and-by the fire-glow filled 
the room with its rich warm radiance. On the 
hearth three fine hounds lay basking in the 
warm fire-glow. Dreaming perhaps of some 
happy hunting grounds, or the ardour of an 
exciting chase, the hounds snifi'ed and snorted, 
and restlessly turned from side to side. 

" ' As a rule, when Lady Jane's ghost appears. 

34^ Lady Jane of Sutton 

said my host, ' the hounds get restless, and 
some of them begin howling.' 

''Even as he spoke, the dogs in the distant 
kennel began baying to the rising moon, and at 
length we could hear the hounds howling far 

''My host shuddered and spoke in whispers. 
I was mute with astonishment — so weird were 
the sounds, and so ghostlike were the responsive 
bowlings of other dogs in the village close by. 

" ' Lady Jane's abroad, sure anufF,' said the 
dairymaid, coming in. 'Did you hear the dogs, 
master ? ' 

" ' Yes,' said he somewhat curtly, and in a 
tone that silenced the maid. 

" ' Do you believe in this ghost ? ' 1 asked. 

" ' I do,' was the reply. ' I've always known 
deaths to follow Lady Jane's visits.' 

" ' Have you ever seen her ? ' I asked. 

" ' Yes, yes,' said my companion, in a some- 
what pained and impatient tone of voice. 

" His manner forbade further questioning, and 
I went out into the courtyard with the intention 
of takino- a short walk. Second thouf^hts caused 
me to go and occupy myself in making addi- 
tions to the daily report upon my antiquarian 
research. So I returned and vA-ent to one of the 
upper rooms. 

"It was the twenty-seventh day of September. 

Follow Me'' 349 

I noticed that, simply because I had to head my 
diary with the date. I had been writing for 
more than an hour, when I was slightly startled 
by the sound of footsteps on the stairway. I 
went and looked down, but could not see any- 
thing. So I resumed my writing, and continued 
without interruption for nearly an hour. I 
looked around, and there, close beside my chair, 
stood the stately figure of Lady Jane. Her face 
was pale but comely, her features were finely 
shaped, and her manner was at once graceful 
and commanding. 

'^ Some irresistible impulse led me to say, 
' What are your desires — what are your com- 
mands ? ' 

" Then I heard a whispered, but audible, 
' Follow me,' and I followed. 

''Lady Jane quickly descended the stairs, and 
I walked swiftly after her. On, on went Lady 
Jane, through several corridors and chambers, 
until we came to the top of the oaken staircase. 
On and out went my ghostly leader, and her 
occult influence compelled me to follow her foot- 
steps. By this time I was perfectly calm and 
self-possessed. There was nothing to fear. 
Surely the phantom lady could not harm me, 
I had no dread of that. While mentally musing 
in this fashion, I became aware that Lady Jane 
was emerging from a back door on to the 

3 5 o Lady Jane of S^itton 

swamp. Then she quickened her pace, until I 
found that it was almost impossible to keep up 
with her. 

" On, on, we went to the very far verge of 
the swampy land, upon which the autumnal 
moonlight gleamed sadly. 

" ' There ! ' exclaimed Lady Jane with a sigh, 
as she raised a warning finger, and pointed to 
a field beyond the morass. Then, in the twink- 
ling of an eye, she vanished. I was alone. 
Alone in the midst of a desolate swamp, with 
only owls, night-hawks, and the bewildering 
will-o'-the-wisp for companions. The phantom 
had befooled me, and led me on for no purpose. 
Yet, I strode on into the field indicated by 
Lady Jane. As I did so, I saw two men 
meeting. Tiie appearance of one was familiar 
to me. Presently, he turned round and con- 
fronted me. Great heavens ! It was my kins- 
man Sir Thomas Stradling, second and only 
survivinof son of the last Sir Edward Stradlins^ ! 
He pressed both his hands to his heart, while 
from a distance his companion looked — as I 
thought — heartlessly on. 

" ' Sir Thomas ! ' I cried, ' how came you 
here ? I thought you were in France ? ' As 
I did so, I heard him exclaim in tones of sup- 
pressed anguish, these words, 'Too late — too 
late — but God bless you, my kinsman ! ' And 

Killed in a Diiel 3 5 1 

then he vanished. I was stunned. Clearly I 
had seen my kinsman's spirit. I strode back 
to SuttoD, but, before I reached the great 
entrance, I fell face foremost on the pathway. 
I remember nothing more until I found myself 
lying on the settle beside the fire. My host 
declared he had found me prostrate on the 
pathway. I had evidently stumbled, he said, 
and there, in an unconscious conditiou, I was 
found when he returned from Llandow. He 
thought I had suffered from some kind of fit. 
I never told him of my adventure, but allowed 
everybody to take it for granted that a ' kind 
of fit' was the cause of my bruised and black- 
ened eye. 

'' Six weeks later the news reached St. Donats 
that my kinsman. Sir Thomas Stradling, was 
killed 'in a duel' at Montpelier in France, on 
the 27th of September 1738. 

" Lady Jane's visitation was truly an omen 
to me of death, and I had seen the spirit of 
Sir Thomas as it passed away from earth. 

'' Before Christmas I left St. Donats Castle, 
only to return just now to complete a few un- 
finished matters, and I shall have to remain 
in Sutton for about a week before my departure 
for Coombe Hoawey." 

On reaching Sutton the men parted company, 
the younger man going onward to Llandow. 

352 Lady Jane of Svtto7i 

" Good-bye," said the young farmer. " I 
hope / shall never see the ghost of Lady 

" I think you never will," responded the 
stranger, "seeing that quite recently, some godly 
men undertook to lay the ghost of the Lady 
of SuttoD." 

*'3for tbe Hdno, or for ©wen 


ARK, and gloomy, and frowniug looked 
the castle and fortress of Dinas Bran. 
Moonbeams that glittered down in the 
valley failed to touch the ancient stronghold, 
where shadows lurked, and crows congregated, 
and moody-minded warriors waited the com- 
mands of their chieftain. 

Down below, in the beautiful Yale of Llan- 
gollen, early summer roses shed their, sweet wild 
petals among the tangles and thickets, and 
dew-drops sparkled upon the dying and dead 
May-blossoms, that drooped like melting snow- 
flakes in all the sheltered hollows. 

Up above, among the grim grey rocks and 
crags arouud the wind-blown summit of the 
mighty mountain, a tall and stately man paced 
restlessly to and fro. 

354 P^or the King, or for Owen Glendower ? 

His men watched him with keen interest. 

Too well they knew what troubled him — too 
well they understood the confiict that was going 
on in his mind. 

Yet they did not blame liim. 

Mightier men than Howel Vychan had bowed 
down to Owen Glendower, who, in Sycharth, 
lived and reigned as the virtual if not the 
nominal King of Wales. 

Howel, the last of the Vychaus, or Vaughans 
of Dinas Bran, felt that he owed a debt of honour 
to Wales and the Welsh. 

His ancestor, Grufliydd ap Madoc, retreated to 
Dinas Bran from the rage of his countrymen. 
Gruffydd caused the Welsh to rise in arms 
against him because of his marrying with Emma, 
the daughter of James, Lord Audley, who in- 
stigated him to side wdth Edward the First 
against bis native sovereign and the princes of 

From that time the Welsh had never trusted 
the owners of Dinas Bran. 

Gruffydd ap Madoc had little rest in his 
almost inaccessible retreat. In a short time 
he became a weary, dispirited, remorseful, and 
conscience-stricken man, who eventually died 
of a broken heart because of his faithlessness to 

His descendants in another branch took up 

Howell Vychan 355 

their residence at Diiias Bran, and firmly held 
the great British stronghold against Wales, and 
in favour of the English king. 

Howell Vychan was the first to exhibit any 
feelings against the rights of ancient usage. 

His heart was for Wales and freedom, but so 
far his sword had been for the King of England. 

Sorrowful feelino:s overwhelmed his soul as he 
restlessly paced the narrow terrace of sward 
under the castle walls. 

Down below all was peaceful. 

In the vale he knew the nightingales were 
trilling mystic roundelays to the rising moon 
that crowned the eastern hills with splendour, 
while its radiance guarded the sacred Dee as 
with a shield of burnished silver. 

Up above all was uncertain. 

In the castle he knew his men openly were 
for the King of England, but he thought that 
of late many of them were secretly for Owen 

His thoughts perplexed him sorely, and, after 
pacing for some time alone up and down under the 
castle walls, he called his domestic bard to him. 
• ^'Llew," he shouted, and forthwith a man old 
enough to be his own father approached. ^'Llew," 
he said, ''I would consult with thee. Thou 
know'st or canst divine what is passing in my 

35 6 For the Kiiig, or for Ozven Glendower? 

" I know," replied Llew. 

" My mind wavers between two opinions. 
Sometimes, as of old, I lean towards the king, 
and yet — I confess my heart goes with Glen- 
dower. And ever and anon the question arises, 
Should I, a Welshman, and above all, a Yychan, 
stand by the King of England, or go forth and 
fight with Owen ? My men appear to be for 
the English, but " 

" Secretly they are for Glendower," interrupted 

" Dost thou in truth think so ? " asked Howell 

" Shall I tell thee what hath passed within 
thy halls during the last few months ? Shall 
I deliver over the secrets of others to thy 
keeping ? " 

*' Ay ! " exclaimed Howel. 

" Let us wander downward to the mountain 
hollow where the first faint moonbeams creep, 
and the long crag shadows fall brokenly into the 
place of concealment," said the bard. " There 
shall we be safe from intrusion — safe from 
listening ears and spying eyes." 

" I will do as thou dost wish," said Howell pas- 
sively, for he loved Llew the hoary-haired bard. 

In silence they descended the tortuous way 
from Castell Dinas Bran to the friendly hollow 
where silvery moonbeams strayed, and long 

Llew the Bard 357 

shadows fell from the overhanging crags and 

The warrior, fully clad in armour, looked a 
dark and sombre fio^ure in the moonlight, that 
was pale and faint up there on the mountain 
heights. Llew, fully robed in the white and 
flowing robes of his office, looked like one of the 
Druids of old. His waving and silvery hair 
floated over his shoulders, and his long beard 
fell below his waist. 

In a mossy corner of the hollow, a grey rock 
formed a pleasant and secluded seat, and there 
the men rested for consultation. 

Howel Y} chan was the first to break the silence. 

" AVhat hath passed in my halls of late — and 
what secrets have others from me ? " 

There was a slioht hauohtiness in his tone, 
but Llew was accustomed to it, and merely said, 
*' I will tell thee all. Since the early part of this 
year strange noises have been heard, and sundry 
tappings and rappings have disturbed the men 
in the armoury." 

Howel Vychan knit his brows. He, too, had 
heard strange noises, and had been disturbed by 
curious tappings and rappings. But he kept his 

'' Further," continued Llew, " in rainy twilights 
of January, when the cloud-rack hung heavily 
over Dinas Bran, and the rifts were few, and the 

35^ For the King, or for Owen Gleridower ? 

wind groaned hoarsely around the stronghold, a 
stranger, or spiritual visitor and not a mortal, 
was frequently seen to enter the castle and never 
went out." 

" What dost thou mean ? " asked Howel. 

" I mean this," said Llew. '' In the dusk of a 
day, when the wind howled among the moun- 
tains, and the rain beat mercilessly upon the 
strono^hold, and the friditened crows in black 
and whirlino^ crowxls made unendins; noise and 
cawino^s over the towers, a stranQ^er strode under 
the great gateway. Without let or leave he 
entered the banqueting hall, and, as one accus- 
tomed to the castle, he crossed direct to the 
armoury, and there put off his visor and his 

Howel Yychan sighed. He, too, had seen 
the stranger, and had watched him in the 

''What next?" asked Howell, still keeping 
his own secret. 

" He never hath been seen to go out," said 
Llew. " Thy men like not to tell thee, but 
they have confided in me." 

" Did they give thee any word as to who the 
stranger might be ? " asked Howel. 

" They did," replied Llew. " Rhys, thy oldest 
man, said the stranger was the spirit-form of 
Gruffydd ap Madoc come up from his grave." 


Gruffydd ap Madoc 359 

" Gruffydd ap Madoc ? " questioned Howell. 

'' The same," replied Llew. 

" How could Rhys know Gruffydd ap Madoc, 
who hath been dead over a hundred years ? " 
asked Howel. 

^^ By hearsay. My grandfather knew him 
well, and used to describe Lim, and the grand- 
mother of Khys was Gruffydd ap Madoc's 
cousin. Gruffydd was of medium height, thick 
set and muscular. His hair and eyes were as 
black as the raven's wing. His wife was small, 
fair, blue-eyed and English. 

Llew paused, as if in contemplation. 

'' What more ?" asked Howel earnestly. 

Llew lowered his voice as though he feared 
the breeze of summer might overhear him, as 
he said, " Rhys told me that he made up his 
mind to speak to the stranger. One night, 
when an unusually severe storm raged, and 
Dill as Bran was enfolded in clouds, the stranger 
entered. In the banqueting hall the dim light 
of the log-fire glowed red upon the walls. The 
sleuth-hounds whined in their dreams, and the 
watch-dogs slept and snorted in the comforting 
warmth. Across the fire-glow that fell broadly 
from the hearth towards the centre of the room, 
the stranger went and stood for a moment where 
dark shadows cono^reo'ated under the western 
wall. Crouching among the shadows in the 

360 For the King, or for Ozven Glendower ? 

ball, Rhys closely watched the stranger, who 
appeared to be quite at home. And, as Ehys 
looked, he saw the stranger going forward to- 
wards the hearth, where he seemed to be rubbing 
bis hands and examining his sword. When 
Rhys stole quietly into the armoury, and crept 
to the far end thereof, and waited results, soon 
after, with slow and measured steps, the stranger 
entered, and in one corner be cast off bis visor 
and his armour. Taking courage, Rhys said 
reverently, as one who wished not to vex the 
visitor, ' In the name of the Holy Mother, who 
art thou, and what dost thou want ? ' Gravely, 
and in deep-voiced tones, the stranger replied, 
'I was Grruffydd ap Madoc, but now I am a 
restless wandering spirit from the regions of the 
unknown.' Then there was silence. 'In the 
name of the blessed Virgin Mary, what dost 
thou want ? ' asked Rhys. In a hoarse and far-off 
voice be answered, ' I want rest, right, and resti- 
tution. Rest will not come until the Vycbans 
make restitution of their aid and force for AYales 
and the Welsh.' With that he vanished." 

"Did Rhys ever see him again, or accost 
him ? " asked Howel. 

"He saw him again, and sees him now," 
replied Llew, "but he never accosts him." 

"It is strange," said Howel to himself more 
tban to Llew. 

For the Honour and Freedorn of Wales 361 

" It is," responded the bard. 

"What is the meaniiw of the stranofer's 
words?" asked Howeh 

" That is pkin to see," said Llew. " The 
stranger cannot rest until the Vychans of Dinas 
Bran lend their aid and forces for the honour 
and freedom of Wales." 

"In short," said Howel, "it means that I, the 
last of my race, must take a position for- " 

"For the king, or Glendower — and that 
speedily," interrupted Llew. 

The bard knew his words had gone home to 
Howel's heart like a sword-thrust, and, knowing it, 
he suggested that they should return to the castle. 

In moody, almost gloomy silence, the two 
men returned to the stronghold. 

Howel retired to a distant room, but the bard 
remained in the banqueting hall. 

The last of the Vychans felt uneasy. 

To break faitli with the English king was to 
obliterate all the old usages of the family since 
the days of Edward the First. To go forth as 
a partisan of Glendower, was to step from a 
pinnacle of pride and ancient lineage to the 
feet of a Welsh gentleman, who, after all, was 
regarded as more or less of a rebel. 

In the midst of his musing, Howel heard the 
voice of Llew, and, brokenly, from the distance, 
came the words of an ode by lolo Goch. 

362 For the King, or for Owen Glendozver ? 

Rich nnd sonorous was the recitation, forceful 
and persuasive were the words. First he Lauded 
Owen's home in Sycharth. He described the 
" timber house " upon " four wooden columns," 
that raised his " mansion to the clouds," and, 
what was then most unusual, the dwelling had 
"smoke-ejecting chimneys" and *^ neatly glazed 
windows." In the words of an English trans- 
lator — 

" All houses are in this compressed — 
An orchard's near it of the best ; 
Also a park, where, void of fear, 
Feed antler'd herds of fallow deer, . . . 
Of goodly steeds a countless host. 
Meads where for hay the clover grows, 
Corn-fields which hedges trim enclose ; 
A mill, a rushing brook upon, 
And pigeon- tower framed of stone ; 
A fish-pond, deep and dark to see, 
To cast nets in when need there be. . . . 
Of various plumage birds abound, 
Herons and peacocks haunt around. 
AVhat luxury doth this hall adorn. 
Showing of cost a sovereign scorn. . . . 
His mansion is the minstrels' home. 
You'll find them there whene'er you come. . . 
His bairns approach me pair by pair. 
Oh what a nest of chieftains fair ! . . . 
Here difficult it is to catch 
A sight of either bolt or latch ; • . • 
And ne'er shall thirst or hunger rude 
In Sycharth venture to intrude ! " 

lolo GocJis Ode 363 

Then he recited snatches of lolo Goch's ode 
to Glendower as " crowned King of Wales." 

In the words of the English translator they 
run thus — 

"All praise to him who forth doth stand 
To Venge his injured native land ! . . . 
In him are blended portents three, 
Their glories blended sung shall be : 
There's Owen, meteor of the glen, 
The head of princely generous men ; 
Owain, the lord of trenchant steel, 
Who makes the hostile squadrons reel ; 
Owain, besides, of warlike look, 
A conqueror who no stay will brook. . , . 
The scourger of the flattering race 
For them a dagger has his face ; 
Each traitor false he loves to smite, 
A lion is he for deeds of might. . . . 
Hail to the valley's belted king 1 
Hail to the widely conquering — 
The liberal, hospitable, kind. 
Trusty and keen as steel refined ! . . . 
Of Horsa's seed on hill and plain, 
Four hundred thousand he has slain. . . . 
Hail to this partisan of war. 
This bursting meteor flaming far ! " 

A long pause succeeded the recitation, and 
Howel heard his men-at-arms begging Llew to 
sing a song. 

" What shall I sing ?" asked the bard. 

" A song of thine own," clamoured the men. 

364 For the King, or for Oweii Glendower f 

Llew pondered awhile. 

Then he said, " We all remember ill-starred 
Hoel ap Einion." 

They did. 

Hoel a23 Eiiiion, a young bard, fell in love 
with the celebrated Welsh beauty, proud My- 
vauwy Yychan, who in 1380 lived at Dinas Bran. 
She was a cousin of Howel Yychan, present lord 
of the stronghold. Many still remembered that 
the beautiful and haughty Myvanwy disdain- 
fully treated the bard, who eventually died 
broken-hearted. Two of the old melodies of 
Wales were known as "Ffarwel Ednyfed Yychan," 
and " Caste) 1 Towyn." Both were in comme- 
moration of Hoel's death. 

" My heart aches when I think of Hoel," said 
Llew tenderly, as he dashed a few tears from his 
eyes, and in memory of him, I have composed 
my song called ' Ffarwel Myvanwy Yychan.' " 

The men-at-arms were touched. 

The}^ remembered Myvanwy at Dinas Bran, 
and too well they knew that her disdain caused 
the death of Hoel ap Einion. 

Llew took his harp, and after an appropriate 
prelude he sang — 

" ' Ffarwel, Myvanwy Vychan ! ' Dear 
The flowers are slowly dying, 
And in the autumn of the year 
Like lost hopes they are lying. 

'' Ffarwel, Myvanwy Vychanl'' 365 

And this is what I sing all day — 

* My heart is sad and lonely ; 
The joys of life have passed away, 

You come in visions only ! ' 

' Ffarwel, My vanwy Vychan ! ' Now 

The rime of winter chills me ; 
The snows are falling on my brow, 

And thy cold slighting kills me. 
And this is what I sing all day — 

' My heart is sad and lonely ; 
The joys of life have passed away, 

You smile in visions only ! ' 

' ' Ffarwel, Myvanwy Vychan ! ' Time 

Will heal my heart of sorrow ; 
But when age brings its silver rime 

Love's light you fain would borrow. 
And you will sigh througli many a day — 

' My heart is sad and lonely ; 
But Hoel, he has passed away. 

He comes in visions only ! ' 

" In tangles of the sweet wild rose 

The bard has found his guerdon, 
There death has given him sweet repose. 

And eased him of love's burden. 
His voice is silent, and his lay 

Of life both sad and lonely, 
Like summer flowers has passed away, 

He lives in memory only ! " 

Tears followed the song, and silence deep and 
profound fell upon all present. 

366 For the King, or for Owen Glendower f 

The mens emotions were roused, and even 
the stern soldiers sympathised with the unfor- 
tunate bard, whose farewell to his ladye-love had 
been tenderly sung by the renowned poet of 
Dinas Bran. 

During the singing of the song, Howel ap 
Vychan had been a moody listener, and in the 
silence that followed, he went without thinking 
into the armoury. 

Had he for a moment thought of the stranger, 
he would have retired to rest — if repose he could 
expect to get when bis brain throbbed and bis 
heart ached in an agony of great unrest. 

Seated on one of the carved oaken benches of 
that period, Howel paused to thiuk over the 
struggle that racked his mind, and made thought 
like a whirlwind for wildness. 

He stayed there so long, that when he looked 
out into the night, the full moon was high in 
the heavens. As he prepared to retire, the sound 
of footsteps coming from the banqueting-room, 
through the corridor leading to the armoury, 
arrested his attention. 

At first he thought it might be one of his 
retainers, but when the great and massive oaken 
door of the armoury swung open, he saw it was 
the stranger. 

Howel trembled with fear, and sank down 
upon the bench again. 

Give me Rest / " 367 

He thought to address the stranger, but was 
tongue-tied by dread. 

Indescribable horror made him shake from 
head to foot as he watched the strano^er re- 
moving his visor and his sword, and then 
setting aside his armour. 

There was no necessity for Howel Vychan to 

Slowly, deliberately, and with a stately step, 
the stranger advanced a pace or two towards the 
lord of Dinas Bran. 

Howel Vychan felt as though the hand of 
death was upon him, and that the fatal and last 
grip of life almost relinquished his hold. 

'' Give me rest ! " exclaimed the stranger. 
" Give me peace. There is no rest — no peace — 
even in the grave ! " 

The voice sounded as though it came from the 
depths of a cavern. 

Howel Vychan shook like an aspen leaf. 

" It is in thy power to give both," continued 
the stranger, " and both rest and peace I must 
and will have." 

The stranger's tones were decisive. 

Then HoAvel Vychan mustered up courage to 
speak, although his words were tremulous with 

" What would'st thou have me to do ? " he 
asked hoarsely. 

368 For the King^ or for Owen Glendower? 

"Fight with the Welsh for Wales and freedom," 
said the stranger. 

A loDg pause followed, during which the 
stranger paced the armoury as if waiting for a 
definite answer. 

Howel Vychan's will struggled with his weak- 
ness for the mastery. Was he to battle against 
his will, and in the end allow his weakness to 
overcome and keep him pledged to stand by the 
King of England, while Wales, dear Wales, 
fought for freedom ? " 

Then he said to himself, ''The time has come. 
It must be one thing or the other, and which is 
it to be — for the king, or for Glendower ? " 

" Answer ! " exclaimed the stranger in an 
almost angiy tone, at the same time lifting 
high above his head a sword, the blade of 
which glittered unnaturally in the uncertain 

It appeared as if the stranger had read Howel's 
inmost thoughts. 

The uplifted sword, the stern command, awed 
Howel, who slowly and deliberately responded, 
" It shall be for Glendower and Wales." 

" Dost thou faithfully promise ? " asked the 

" I faithfully promise," responded Howel 

" AVhen thou dost fulfil thy promise, I will 

Before the Hour of Noon 369 

rest in peace, and trouble thy household no 
longer," said the stranger. 

When Howel dared to glance upward he found 
that the stranger had vanished, and the door of 
the armoury was shut. 

Early next moruing Howel requested Llew to 
see that all his men were assembled in the great 
courtyard before the hour of noon. 

The men wondered what was going to happen. 
Had King Henry the Fourth sent for his power- 
ful ally Howel Vychan ? 

Not a man could tell. 

Did Llew know why they were thus mustered 
together ? 

The bard had not the least knowledge of his 
lord's intentions. 

Just before the hour of noon Howel Vychan, 
clad in full armour, strode manfully into the. 
presence of his men. 

In a few words he told them of his altered 
feelings — how he felt that it was .his duty to 
aid in the protection of Wales and the Welsh 
against the . Kiug of England, and how Llew 
was to go to Sycharth forthwith and inform 
Glendower of his intentions. 

'' Now," exclaimed Ho-\vel Yychan, " I must 
know which it is to be with you — for Wales 
or England. Those who wish to remain loyal 
to the King of England can peaceably quit 

2 A 

:^yo Fo7' the King, or for Owen Glendoiver ? 

Castell Dinas Bran during the clay. Those who 
are willing to stand by me, and join Glendower, 
will remain here. Question them, Llew." 

The bard ascended the horse-block, and in clear, 
stentorian voice cried out, " Answer now. Which 
is it to be — for the kino- or for Owen Glendower ?" 

As one man all the warriors replied, " For 
Howel Yychan and Owen Glendower ! " 

Loud cheers rang around Dinas Bran, and the 
echoes thereof descended into the mountain hol- 
lows far below. 

In the afternoon Llew departed for Sycharth, 
and two days afterwards, he returned with the 
request that Howel Yychan would visit the leader 
of the revolt. 

Three days later Howel Yychan was enrolled 
in the list of Owen Glendower's supporters. The 
lord of Dinas Bran was, in a remote way, a rela- 
tive of Owen Glendower. 

Of the great Welsh leader, Hollinshed's Chro- 
nicles contain the following particulars, which 
may be interesting to those who are unacquainted 
with the stern opponent of King Henry the 
Fourth: — "This Owen Glendower was son to 
an esquire of Wales named Griffith Wichan 
(Gruffydd Yychan) ; he dwelled in the parish 
of Conwaie (Corwen), witliin the county of 
Merioneth, in North Wales, in a place called 
Glendourdwie, which is as much as to say in 

" Thro2igh Art Magic " 371 

Eoglisb, as the valley by the side of the water 
of Doe, by occasion whereof he was surDamed 
Glindour Dew." 

According to Hollinshed, ''In 1402 Owen 
GrlendowTjr (with Ijis WelshmeD) fought w^ith 
the Lord Grey of Euthin, coming forth to 
defend his possessions, which the same Owen 
wasted and destroyed ; and as the fortune of 
that day's work fell out, the Lord Grey was 
taken prisoner, and many of his men were slain. 
This hap lifted the Welshmen into high pride, 
and increased marvellously their wicked and 
presumptuous attempts." 

Soon after this Edmund Mortimer, Earl of 
March, was defeated, and afterwards became 
Owen's ally. 

Hollinshed then quaintly states : " About the 
mid of August, the king, to chastise the pre- 
sumptuous attempts of the Welshmen, went 
with a great power of men into Wales, to pur- 
sue the Welsh captain, Owen Glenclower, but, 
in fact, lost his labour ; for Owen conveyed 
himself out of the way into his known lurking 
places, and (as was thought), through art magic, 
he caused such foul weather of winds, tempest, 
rain, snow, and hail to be raised for the annoy- 
ance of the king's army, that the like had not 
been heard of." 

In the Chronicles of Adam of Usk — who 

3 72 For the King, or for Oiveii Glendower? 

studied law in London with Owen Glendower, 
and afterwards entering the Church, went on a 
pilgrimage to Kome — Owen is styled " Oenus, 
dominus de Glendordee." Adam of Usk says 
about the defeat and capture of Lord Grey de 
Euthin : — ''At so great a blow thus given by 
Owen to the English rule, when I think thereon 
my heart trembles. For, begirt by 30,000 men, 
who issued from their lairs throug^hout Wales 
and its marches, he overthrew the castles, among 
which were Usk, Caerleon, and Newport, and 
fired the towns. In short, like a second Assy- 
rian, the rod of God's anger, he did deeds of 
unheard-of tyranny with fire and sword. These 
things I heard of at Rome." 

In other parts of the " Chronicon Adae," it 
is stated that Henry the Fourth intended sup- 
pressing the Welsh language altogether, and 
that in the deadly campaign of 1401, more 
than a thousand children were carried off into 
Enoiish boudag;e. 

After many brilliant victories, Glendower in 
1402 held his celebrated assembly in the old 
dwelling still known as the Parliament House, 
in the Eastern Street, Machynlleth, and there 
the great leader of Welsh insurrection was 
crowned King: of Wales. 

Owen was then accompanied by the vener- 
able bard lolo Goch, who saw in his hero the 

Dafydd Gam 2i72) 

fulfilment of an old prophecy, in which it stated 
that a prince of the race of Cadwaladr should 
rule the Britons after emancipating them from 
Saxon thraldom. 

In that assembly Dafydd Gam, the Fluellin of 
Shakespeare, endeavoured to assassinate Owen, 
but was frustrated. For tbis ojQfence, Gam was 
seized and sent to a prison among tbe mountains 
above Sycharth. 

Later on Owen, passing through Breconshire, 
totally destroyed Gam's house called Gyring wen, 
situated near the river Honddu. 

In the autumn of 1403 Owen Glendower 
went to South Wales, and foremost in the 
battles was Howel Yychan. Cardiff, Swansea, 
Coity, Penmark, Llandaff, and Caerleon suffered 
badly from the ravages of the war. The siege 
of Coity was very serious. That castle was 
then in the possession of Alexander Berkrolles, 
the surviving representative of the '' fighting 
Turbervilles." Tidiness of this reached the king:, 
who ordered his sons. Prince Henry and "Lord 
Thomas," to raise the siege of Coity. On the 
thirteenth of November the king issued man- 
dates to the sheriffs of Warwick, Worcester, 
Gloucester, and other counties to provide a con- 
tingent each of t\Yenty men-at-arms, and two 
hundred archers to join the army of his sons. 

On March the eleventh, 1405, the celebrated 

374 ^or the King, 07\for Ozven Glendower f 

battle of Grosmont was fought. It was one 
of the most disastrous events in the whole 
of Owen's campaign. Between 800 and 1000 
brave men were slain, and most of them were 
rebels of Glamorgan and Brecon. Owen was 
not present at Grosmont, but the reverse caused 
him to assemble all his remaining strength as 
soon as possible to try and atone for the loss. 

This brinofs ag-ain to the front the brave and 
sturdy Howel ap Vychan, the lord of Dinas 

March 15, 1405. 

Swiftly through the afternoon air arrows 
darted in every direction, and a wild wind, 
bio wins: downward from the Breconshire moun- 
tains, fanned the faces of the warriors, who were 
hot and feverish with the terrible exertion 
caused by the fray. 

" The day waxes, " exclaimed Owen Glendower, 
still bravely standing in the front, " and I fear 
me the enemy will overcome." 

"Press on!" shouted Howel Yycban, quitting 
Glendower's side for a moment to give direc- 
tions to the men-at-arms, who were heroically 
struggling for the mastery. 

Durins: the morning^ the wind arose to a s^ale, 
in the afternoon its strength waned, and to- 
wards sunset scarcely a breeze could be felt. 

" On — Welshmen, on / " 375 

To spare the English reader, the name of 
the locality is here once given, and need not 
be repeated. It is known in Welsh history 
as Mjnyddypwllmelyn, in Breconshire. 

Hard and fast in the ruddy sunset, Owen 
Glendower and his men attacked the kino;'s 

Now and again Howel Vychan turned to 
urge his comrades. 

" On — Welshmen, on ! " he cried, and with 
renewed inspiration the men-at-arms and the 
archers pressed forward. 

It was a wild scene of disorder. 

The king's army was very pow^erful, and 
as time passed, Owen Glendower and his sup- 
porters felt that the chances were going against 

When the sunset deepened into night the 
truth was known. 

Owen Glendower had lost — Henry the Fourth 
had won. 

Grand, heroic, serene under defeat, Owen 
Glendower, leaning on his sword, paused for a 
while to look upon the scene and the loss of 
his latest hopes. 

'^ Undone ! " cried the great leader of insur- 
rection to Howel Vychan. 

"Alas!" replied Howel. '*we were too weak. 
And yet — our men were brave ! " 

376 For the King, or for Ozven Glen dower 9 

Owen Glendower sighed. 

There in the shadows, his brother Tudor was 
numbered amoDg the slain. 

Just a 23ace beyond, Owen's son stood among 
the prisoners. 

Fifteen hundred of Glendower's men were 
taken prisoners or slain. 

It was a scene to make even the intrepid 
Welsh leader quail. 

With a great sob, and a mighty sigh, Owen 
Glendower, turning to Howel Yychan, ex- 
claimed, " It is craven-hearted to say so, but we 
must flee ! There is no help for us. Perhaps — 
but who can tell'? — in a distant day we shall 
arise with renewed strength and fight again 
for home, for Wales, and freedom ! " 

Howel Yychan could only grasp his friend 
by the hand and say — "Whither thou goest 
will I go. I follow wherever thou would'st lead." 

As the twilight deepened into night, Owen 
Griendower, accompanied by Howel Yychan and 
a few trusty and faithful followers, hastened 
from the scene of action. 

In the first of the dark days, the party 
remained as outcasts in Glamorganshire. They 
had to shelter in caves, in secluded woodlands, 
and other hiding-places. The Dinas Eock in 
the Neath Yalley, is pointed out by tradition 
as one of his hiding-places. 

Ogof Owain 377 

Then came the saddest part of all. 

Deserted by everybody excepting Howel 
Yychan and a few other friends, Owen Glen- 
dower wandered amono^ desolate neio^hbourhoods 
in order to secrete himself from the kino^. 

Now he paused among the wild wastes of 
Plinlimmon, then he sought sanctuary among 
the rocks of Moel Hebog, and in time he reached 
a cave on the Merionethshire coast, about one 
mile north from the river Dysyniiy. That 
cavern has ever since been known as Oorof 
Owain or Owain's Cave. 

It was evening. 

On the white-crested waves of Cardigan Bay, 
the last flush of the crimson sunset cast rosy 
flecks, that contrasted vividly with the dark 
silver-green dejDths of the waters. 

White- winged birds circled under the clear 
blue sky, and wheeled in the wake of the por- 
poises that sported themselves out at sea. 

In Owain's Cave the shadows were dark, 
gloomy, and foreboding. 

Three men alone were there. 

Owen — worn with sorrow and broken-hearted 
— had lived to see his beloved Sycharth a fire- 
scathed ruin, and all his possessions seized by 
the king, and Howel Yychan survived to lament 
the loss of Dinas Bran. 

After days of fasting and exposure to the 

2,^8 For the King, or for Owen Glejidozver? 

winds and weather, the brave Howel was seized 
by a fever, and there, in the loneliness of wain's 
Cave, he lay prone and lielpless under the care 
of his friend, the great but defeated Welsh 
leader, and a trusty man named Hugh. 

" I fear he cannot survive," said Hugh, as the 
tears rolled down his deeply-furrowed face. 

"Alas I and he hath been faithful unto death," 
sighed Owen. "Many a time when the sword 
hath been nigh to my heart, Howel hath averted 
it. Many a night when provision was short, 
Howell hath gone without to give unto me. 
Many a day when my lips were parched, and 
my tongue clave to the roof of my mouth, 
Howel hath foregone a much-needed draught of 
cooling water to give unto me ! " 

Glendower and Hugh sobbed together and aloud. 

"What is it? make speed!" cried Howel in 
his quick and impatient AVelsh way. 

Glendower and Hugh tried to soothe him. 

"I will fight," exclaimed Howel. "I will 
fight to the last. On men — on — press forward 
. . . For home — for Wales — for freedom !" 

Then he sank back exhausted. 

Just as the first faint rays of the rising moon 
glimmered across the waves of Cardigan Bay, 
and the shadows wxre growing deeper and 
darker in wain's Cave, Howel Vychan once 
more stirred in his feverish slumbers. 

The Lord of Dinas Bran 379 

" On Welshmen — on ! " he cried. Press forward ! 
. . . Now — now . . . The fio-ht is foudit . . . 
The battle is won ! . . . Not for the Kino- . . . 
For home . . . for AVales . . . and for . . . 
Gleudower ! " 

Then, like a tired child, with a deep and weary 
sigh, he sank back upon his rude resting place, 
and died. 

There, in loneliness and sorrow, Owen Glen- 
dower wept as only a brave and strong man 
can weep, while Hugh mournfully and tenderly 
performed the last kindly offices for their dead 

" He is gone ! " sighed Glendower. '' And with 
him go my long last hopes." 

And once more he wept aloud. 

In the golden radiance of the rising moon, in 
sight and sound of the sea, the mortal remains 
of the faithful Welshman were buried. 

There ever the great sea sobs in winter, and the 
autumn wdnds chaunt their saddest requiems. 
There the song birds sing in the long summer 
days, while the dirge of the wavelets sounds like 
mysterious music ; and there, until *^ there shall 
be no more sea," the silver sands will conceal 
all that remains of the brave and faithful Howel 
Vychan of Dinas Bran. 

r-~— ^~, '^. 

N ^ 1 




'y. -^. 






' -:i»!=::3iP^'*^~k^ 






/-;-<) /^^S" 




"nS^ ve- 

pip, 3flu9b, ant) 3flan&cr6 

^QIP is an old bouse standing on the left- 
hand side of the rugged road leading 
_ seaward. 

Flusli stands exactly on the opposite side of 
the roadway. 

Flanders is a hundred yards beyond its 
neighbours, and it has the advantage of being 
on sloping ground directly facing the inoiniDg 

Flush and Flanders only retain their ancient 
names. Pip is now known as the White House. 

In the days of old, the three dwellings were 
only known as Pip, Flush, and Flanders. 

Even the most rare and antique MSS. and 
documents bearing upon the subject, fail to clear 
up the meaning of the word Pip. Some have 
said it means Peep, other authorities regard it 
as Pip, which term the Welsh even now apply 
to anything small, such as a " pip of cheese," or 

a " pip," meaning a little piece of butter. 


The Flemings 381 

Flush was an abbreviation of Flusliinsf, in 
Holland, and Flanders was so named after that 
province in Belgium. 

The three houses were origiually occupied by 
the Fleminos. 

These were the Flemings who emigrated to 
Eng-land, after the disastrous floods that inun- 
dated their own low-lying country in the twelfth 
century. Some of the Flemings settled at, and 
gave a name to, the village called Flemingstone, 
in Glamorgan, and quite likely the owners of 
Pip, Flush, and Flanders were offshoots of those 

As time rolled on the property passed into 
other hands, and with the exception of the name 
in one or two families, not a trace of the ancient 
Flemings remained. 

Vestiges of their art survived them for many 
centuries, but in time the weavers became ex- 
tinct in this part of Wales. 

In the seventeenth century, when witches were 
as plentiful as blackberries, and genuine wizards 
were few, an ancient dame, who bore the reputa- 
tion of beinof conversant with the "black art," 
lived in a cottage known as the thirteenth cen- 
tury Monastery Gate-house. 

All the good people dwelling in the neigh- 
bourhood were afraid of the old woman, who 
by common report was said to plague the three 

Pip, Flush, and Flanders 

Flemish houses more than any other in the 
town. Some declared it was because Each el 
Flemynge bore in her blood traces of those old 
settlei-s, whose descendants wasted their patri- 
mony, and brought the reputed witch's great- 
grandfather to beggary. 

The inhabitants of the town were ashamed of 
Eachel Flemynge. 

Llaniltyd Vawr — or the '' Sacred place of Iltyd 
the Great," as it is translated into English, 
although in the present day it is only known 
as Llantwit Major — was always an eminently 
respectable town. Somebody — English, of course 
— slightingly described it as a "large village or 
dilapidated town," and the people rose up in 
arms. That the town of St. Iltutus, the site of 
the fifth century and first Christian college in 
Britain, the place sanctified by the footsteps of 
St. Paul the Apostle, should be spoken of irre- 
verently was, and is, more than the inhabitants 
respectively of the past or present could or can 

Pilgrims, students, and antiquarian nomads 
of old — tourists and archseoloo^ical societies of 
to-day — and visitors from all parts of the world 
even in these last years of a busy century — came 
and come simply to inspect the antiquities of the 
place. These include ecclesiastical structures and 
domestic architecture of the twelfth, thirteenth, 

The Llantwit Crosses 383 

and fifteenth centuries, while the great age of 
the Llantwit crosses puzzles even the most 
learned antiquarians, who contradict each other 
with amazing pertinacity, and come to endless 
squabbles on the subject. 

To return to the three ancient houses. 

In the year 1668 Pip was occupied by Edward 
Vanne, a descendant of the Vannes of the old 
Manor Place at Llantwit. Flush was the resi- 
dence of James Adam, the ancestor of whom is 
thus described in Leland's Itinerary : "A little 
from the Pipe is Castleton, a Manor Place on 
a Hille ascending ... it longged to one Hugh 
Adam, a man of mene Landes. ..." Flanders 
was the abode of the widow and only son of 
of Thomas Giles, and of his ancestor Leland 
gives the following account :— " Half a mile by 
the West Pipe standeth a Pile or Manor Place 
called Gilestown and Village of the same 
Name. . . . One Giles, a gentleman of an 
ancient House yet having a Hundreth Markes 
of Lande by the Yere, is Lorde of it." 

Towards sunset, on the eve of the ist of 
May 1668, those who still were accustomed to 
kindle the Beal, Baal, or Beltane fire, in honour 
of Beli, the Emperor of the Sun, repaired to the 
great British encampment known as the Castle 
Ditches, overlooking Colhugh Point, the rocks 

384 Pip, Fhtsh, and Flanders 

of which stretch forth hungrily into the Severn 

One of the men who helped in the work was 
a dreamy individual, who either rejoiced or 
lamented in being gifted with second sight. 

Stephen Gamage, as he collected driftwood 
on the solitary shore, looked westward towards 
the sunset. His thoughts reverted to druidical. 
lore, and the ancient days when the Druids 
paid adoration to Dwyvan and Dwyvach, the 
only survivors of the apocryphal Deluge ; to Hu 
Gadarn, " who first showed the race of the 
Cymry the method of cultivating the ground ; " 
to Ceridwen and her mystic cauldron, to Gwyn 
ap Nudd, master of the great Unknown, and to 
Beli, the Monarch of the Sun. 

He pictured to himself the long-bearded Druids 
clothed in snowy vestments, and followed by 
the Eoman warriors with their short and sharp 
two-edged swords and glittering helmets. In 
imagination, he heard the mino:led sounds of 
wretched groans, shouts of rage, and the dull 
awful noise of bardic bodies hurled over preci- 
pices and rocks. Fancy led, he thought that the 
black staves of an ancient landing place or stage 
were the remains of Eoman soldiers, who in 
ages gone w^ere turned into stone for having 
persecuted the Druids. In his days, as in ours, 
those hardy wooden staves standing in the 

Stepheiis Reverie 385 

teeth of the storms, were known by some as 
the "Eoman soldiers," by others as the "Black 

Stephen's thoughts went back to still more 
remote ages, of which he had heard much, and, 
in an imperfect way, had read a little ; of days 
when, in Wales, as an old chronicler records, 
" Dark forests of spruce and pine frowned on the 
mountains, save where the peaks wxre so elevated 
that they wore all winter long a mantle of 
snow. Savage and desolate heaths w^ere spread 
out here, undulating and richly- clothed prairies 
there. The beaver constructed his dams across 
the streams ; the tail-less hare of Siberia 
sported over the plains ; the Lithuanian bison 
and the forest ox . . . fed in countless herds. 
Deer of incredible stretch of antlers w^ere in the 
wastes ; the reindeer, the Artie elephant . . . 
the Siberian rhinoceros . . . roamed through 
the country in the winter time. Horses like 
those of the Tartarian steppes, foxes and wolves, 
w^ild boars and bears, shared with them the 
possession of the soil. . . . With every advancing 
summer came droves of migratory animals from 
the South, amongst which the Hod, a kind of 
leopard now unknown, and hyaenas . . . bore 
the sway." 

Stephen was aroused from his reverie by 
Eichard Flemynge, brother to Kachel, the re- 

2 B 

86 Pip, Flush, and Flanders 

puted witch, who said abruptly, "Thee dost see, 
or pretend to see, the future. Now, dost thou 
know what manner of death I myself shalt die ? " 

" I do," replied Stephen. 

"What is it ? " asked Eichard. 

" A death that thou and thy people would 
think the least likely," replied Stephen. 

Eichard Flemynge endeavoured to get Stephen 
Gamage to explain his meaning, but the man 
would not. 

Then they toiled upward along the heights to 
the British encampment. 

In those days the steep eastern hill above 
Colhugh was almost covered with dense thickets 
of hazel, through wliich winding pathways led 
to the summit. Among the deep entrenchments 
where the blackberry brambles fell in long trails, 
the may-blossoms looked like snow upon the 
thorn bushes, and the fresh green leaves of the 
hazels appeared like emeralds in the glow of 

On the summit of the hill, between the en- 
trenchments and the western cliff-line, there is a 
broad plateau of grass, and in the centre thereof 
the people prepared the Beltane fire. 

Tow and tar-smeared faggots were highly 
piled together, and surrounded by dry drift- 
wood, of which willing hands brought a large 

The Beltane Fire 387 

Then the people Wcaited, gazing eagerly as the 
sun, like a ball of liquid fire, sank behind the 
western hills. 

Slowly, like weary pilgrims, the last rays of 
the setting sun descended into the horizon, and 
as the carmine lioiit faded amono^ tlie distant 
cloud-folds, Stephen Gam age lighted the Beltane 
fire. Almost simultaneously, on each neighbour- 
ing eminence and j)i"omontory along the Severn 
Sea, on the heights of Porlock and the Quantock 
ranges on the English side, and on every high 
hill throughout Wales, Beltane fires burned and 
blazed in the waning daylight. 

Just before twilight deepened into night, and 
as the May moon arose slowly from the east, 
those who congregated around the Beltane fire 
commenced dancing and singing wild rounde- 
lays. Old and young alike joined in the rem- 
nants of those mysterious rites and orgies with 
which the ancient Britons propitiated the sun. 

In the seventeenth century these festivities 
consisted chiefly of weird songs and morris dances, 
and orgies more or less ludicrous and grotesque. 

When the revelry was in its zenith, a dark, 
thin, and small figure ascended the ridges and 
approached the crowd. 

It was Rachel Flemynge, the reputed witch. 

At her coming those who saw her instantly 
turned the thumbs of each hand inward, and 

Pip, Flush, and Flanders 

closed their fingers firmly uj^on them. Eachel, 
muttering and shrugging her shoulders, hurried 
towards the fire. As she passed on, the crowd 
made way for her, so that their garments should 
not toucli hers. 

In the strange and weird light of the Beltane 
fiie, those who stood nearest the blaze appeared to 
be magnified, and the most marked figure in the 
multitude was that of Eachel Flemynge. 

She was a small, thin woman, whose features 
still bore many traces of former beauty, though 
the nose and chin were pointed, and promised 
to draw nearer with age. Her eyes were bright 
and sparkling, and her movements were still 
active, although she was sixty. In her hands 
she held a stick, which she carried more to help 
her over the ruo^aed heio^hts and rouoli roads 
than for the support of age. 

As she approached the fire some of the men 
started suddenly from her. 

'' Ye needn't draw back as if a snake had 
stung the lot of you," said Rachel sharply, as 
she went forward, and, taking up a large stick, 
poked the Beltane fire therewith. 

Suddenly, from the centre of the pyre, the 
flames shot upward, and a shower of sparks fell 
like hail upon the multitude. In a moment 
dancing and song ceased, and the people stood 
spellbound, as a dark column of smoke ascended 

'' B tern her for a Witch!'' 389 

to the sky, wliere the May moon, veiled by soft 
evening mists, shone in chastened splendour. 

Another shower of sparks fell among the crowd, 
and then half-a-dozen men rushed towards Kachel 

" Burn her ! " shouted the multitude. " Burn 
her for a witch ! " 

The people crowded around her, and two of 
the men seized the unfortunate woman, who was 
powerless in their grasp. 

" Scratch her ! " cried some of the women. 
'' Get a few drops of the beldame's blood." 

" Ay ! " almost yelled the youths as in one 
voice ; " a few drops of her black blood would 
be a boon." 

"And stop her baneful workings," shouted the 
old men. 

It was a wild and startling scene. 

Dense clouds of smoke darkened the air, and 
bright sparks of fire fell in almost ceaseless 
showers of mingled red and yellow colours. 

In the midst of the confusion the crowd 
surged hither and thither. Now the people 
swayed around Kachel Flemynge, then they 
surged in dangerous proximity to the Beltane 
fire. Yells, hisses, and hootings rang through 
the evening air, and as the multitude clamoured 
around the woman, every voice was raised against 

390 Pip, Fhtsh, and Flanders 

" Burn her ! Burn her for a witch ! " was the 

At that moment, slowly, but determinedly, 
Stephen Gamage pushed his way through the 

'' Let the woman alone ! " he exclaimed, and 
the men instantly relinquished their hold of 
Rachel Flemynge. 

"Let her alone !" he repeated in a stentorian 
voice, before which all the people present 

" She but thrust a log into the fire, and 
thereby, with spirited touch, did what those 
of old would have done had they been in her 
place. It is considered ill-luck to let the Beltane 
fire smoulder or go out. Rachel Flemynge, I 
beseech thee, follow me." 

Rachel obeyed, and the crowd parting, made 
a pathway for the reputed witch and her pro- 
tector Stephen Gamage. 

Wending their way downward from the 
Castle Ditches, Rachel and Stephen were soon 
concealed from sight by the hazels that filled 
the ridges sloping towards the meadow^s. 

Meanwhile, the people resumed their dances 
and sinoino- and some of the rouo^her classes 
indulged in strange but harmless buff'oonery. 

It was midnight before the crowd dispersed, 
and wearied out, went homeward. 

" Wrongly and Shamefully Treated'' 391 

Soon afterwards, Stephen Gamage returned 
to watch with the others, and replenish the 
Beltane fire, which was not allowed to expire. 

''Why dost thou always take the part of 
the witch ? " asked one of the company, ad- 
dressing Stephen. 

'' Because I think her wrongly and shamefully 
treated," replied Stephen. 

" And partly because thou'rt something like 
kin of hers," remarked Kichard Flemynge. 

'' How so ? " questioned a neighbour. 

"The people call Eachel a witch, and all of 
us know that Stephen is a man of second sight," 
responded Eichard. 

" True, true," said the company in a chorus. 

''It is not because of that," said Stephen 
decidedly. " How would ye all like your 
women-kind served so ? We are all sons of 
mothers ; some of ye are husbands of wives 
and brothers of good sisters. Would we like 
them to be hustled and held in inhuman grip, 
and well-nigh thrust living into the Beltane 

Stephen spoke almost savagely as he knit his 
bushy brows, and tightly compressed his lips. 

In silence, the other men stirred and re- 
plenished the fire, and then stretched their 
bodies forth on the grass, therefrom to see that 
the embers should not expire. 

392 Pip, Fhish , and Fla n ders 

While the moon was still in its zenith, the 
watchers fell soundly asleep, and Stephen Gam age 
was left to keep his vigil alone. 

He sauntered away from the verge of the 
lofty cliffs wherefrom he could gaze downward 
to and across the Severn Sea, and at the same 
time watch the Beltane fire. 

In the soft haze of nisfht and moonlio-ht, 
Stephen became, as was his wont, dreamy and 
thoughtful. Fancy portrayed the past, when 
Druids wandered on new-moon nights through 
the groves of oak, or went in search of the 
healing and magical vervain, or dewy selago, 
and the three - leaved samolus, or paused to 
plant and transplant roots and herbs, together 
with seeds sown when the moon was on the 

He thought of dim, mysterious nights, when 
the air was heavy with the breath of battle, and 
the Druids invoked Taranis in the grim shadows 
that surrounded rude and primitive altars. His 
mind reverted to frosty nights in winter when 
the stars glittered in the dark blue heavens, and 
the Druids, Bards, and Ovates, with priestly 
pomp and ceremony, went forth to cut down the 
sacred mistletoe, the juice of which was supposed 
to cure the most deadly wound of spear or arrow. 
Then he recalled what he had read about the 
strange ceremonies and rites in connection with 

" The DrtncTs Dirge " 393 

tlie anguinium or serpent's ^gg, which, according 
to tradition, protected the finder from danger, 
and in some instances from death. 

Sometimes he paused in his reverie to re- 
plenish the Beltane fire, or to gaze dreamily at 
the moon as it went slowly westward. 

To him there were magic and witchery in 
the scene, as the setting moon dropped like a 
silver ball behind the dark western hills, and 
the pale, tremulous light of morning made a rift 
in the eastern cloud-folds. 

Stephen Gamage, the man of second sight, 
standing on the verge of the grey cliflfs over- 
looking the grey sea, recited to himself the 
"Druid's Dirge" and the " Bard's Lament." 

Part I. 

"It is too late ! for twilight's solemn splendour 
Is waning, and the moments in their flight, 
Like weary warriors, full sadly render 

Their numbers to the roll-call of the night. 

It is too late ! My soul is weary, yearning 
For the grey gleam of dawn upon the rills ; 

It is too late ! behold the gloom is turning 
To golden sunrise on the morning hills. 

My soul is sad ! a gentle sound of sighing 
Tells me the world is lost — the fight unwon ; 

Yet death upon his way here to me winging, 
Catches a sweet smile from the rising sun. 

,94 Pip-) Flush, and Flanders 

My soul is sad ! How many hours beside ye 
I have gone forth, but now must go alone, 

With none to utter welcome, none to guide me 
Through the dark star-ways to a realm unknown. 

So ends my life ! From thee and all I sever 
In anguish too sublime for earthly plaint. 

So ends my life ! Alone, now and for ever ! 

Farewell ! The world recedes ! My soul grows faint !" 

Part II. 

" Long years, ay many, we have roam'd beside him, 

O'er ways and paths that we anew must tread, 
And though wide realms of mystery divide him 

Now from our sight, we cannot deem him dead ! 
We held him in our arms while life was failing, 

In close embrace, and watch'd his fluttering breath, 
While the dim moonbeams in the west were paling, 

And day-dawn veiled the awful calm of death ! 
In morning light we saw then and for ever, 

The grandeur of his spirit and its power. 
E'en as his mortal vestment seem'd to sever. 

We saw the immortal bursting into flower ! " 

When Stephen concluded the recitation of these 
lines, he covered his face with his hands and 
wept aloud. 

As he looked up, the East was glowing with 
rose-colour and gold, and the king-like sun 
arose in all his splendour as a triumphant 

In Quest of May Dew 395 

and victorious warrior, who had vanquished the 
monarch Nio'ht and his minions. 


With tlie first gleam of sunshine the Beltane 
fire expired, and soon afterwards only a heap of 
smouldering embers remained to mark the place 
where, with strange orgies, grotesque dances, and 
wild songs, the people had celebrated the eve of 
the first of May. 

Stephen Gamage roused the sleepers, and 
could not refrain from taunting them as to the 
manner in which they had fulfilled the vigil. 

Descending from the Castle Ditches, the com- 
pany entered the meadows, and were going 
homeward, when they suddenly encountered a 
bevy of merry maidens gaily trooping seaward, 
apparently in quest of something. 

'*What do they seek?" queried one of the 
Beltane fire watchers. 

'' Dost thou not know what their quest is ? " 
asked Stephen Gamage. 

" How should I ? 'Tis not long since I came 
to these parts," was the retort. 

" Then know, once and for all," replied Stephen, 
'* that these fair maidens are come in quest of 
May dew. 'Tis said that the dew collected on 
the first morning of May is a greater beautifier 
than all the dew of the month, although dew 
at any time, especially in the spring and summer 
solstices, is wonderfully efificacious in clearing the 

39^ Pip^ Fhtsh, and Flanders 

skin of all imperfections, especially of freckles. 
Besides which, it makes the skin smooth and 

" Thou should'st write a ' Book of Beauty,' " 
said one of the girls, overhearing him. 

*^ Or else give directions for a small fee, after 
the fashion of the leech," remarked another. 

" Th}^ skin is fair for a Welshman, Stephen. 
P'rhaps thee dost use May dew, and can per- 
sonally testify as to its virtue," joked one of the 

" My skin is fair, because, on my mother's 
side, I claim descent from the Scotch, while my 
brown hair is obtained from my father's people, 
who were all dark, and, in some cases, swarthy." 

Thus talking and musing, the men went to 
their homes, where generous repasts waited 
their coming^. 


Meanwhile the maidens bathed their faces 
freely in the May dew, which was allowed to dry 
on the skin instead of being washed off. 

The troop of merry girls had another object 
in view, in sauntering through the meadows 
early on that beautiful May morning. It was 
an old woman's story, that if a maiden took a 
piece of the charred w^ood remaining after the 
Beltane fire, and set it under her pillow at night, 
she would see her future husband, either in a 
vision or in a dream. 

Dorothy Valine 397 

Therefore, when the May dew had dried upon 
the faces of the maidens, they ascended the 
Castle Ditches, and from around the still smoul- 
dering Beltane fire, each one gathered a piece of 
charred wood, and therewith returned home. 
Upon reaching the town, they parted, but not 
before each maiden had faithfully promised to 
relate the result of the mystic vision or dream of 


In one of the upper rooms of the house, over 
which a vine cast its traceries of pale green 
leaves and curling tendrils, Dorothy Yanne was 
busy at work preparing a wonderful skin lotion, 
and on the table before her was the following 
written recipe : — 

Of elder-flower water brewed last year, . 3 parts. 

jNIay dew, ...... i part. 

Of water in which bruised almonds hath been 

steeped for six days . . . . i part. 

Eose water, i part. 

As Dorothy carefully amalgamated these in- 
gredients in a large white ware bowl, she thought 
deeply of Owen Giles of Flanders. 

Unfortunately, many maidens shared her 

Owen Giles was a finely built man, standing 

Pip, Fhtsh, and Flanders 

about six feet without his shoes. He was fair- 
baired, and grey-eyed, and, above all, his gay 
and lively gallantry were almost a proverb in 
the neighbourhood. He, a childless widower, 
lived alone with his widowed mother. 

Dorothy Vaune was a dark-eyed brunette 
beauty, whose pride and hauteur were matters 
of remark. But her friends and partisans ex- 
cused lier pride, on the ground that her ancestors 
were formerly owners of a dwelling then known 
as the Manor, the ruins of which are still called 
the Old Place. Fallen fortunes during the Civil 
AYar had brought her father to Pip, which, though 
a house of some importance, was, after all, not 
quite the residence for " one of the Yannes." 

When Dorothy had prepared the lotion for 
which Stephen Gamage had given her the recipe, 
she lingered looking out into the moonlight of 
the first of May. Her desires and hopes were 
satisfied, when downward from the town on his 
way home came Owen Giles of Flanders. 

He saw the beauty, and gaily doffed his hat, 
and waved his hand in passing. 

Before retiring to rest that night, Dorothy 
carefully took the piece of charred wood she had 
secured from the Beltane fire, and placed it in a 
soft white kerchief which was duly concealed 
under her pillow. That night, each girl of the 
merry May-dew seekers did the same, with the 

A Bewitched Household 399 

exception of the kerchief, which the other maidens 
regarded as detrimental to the spell. 

Dorothy fell asleep loog before the May moon 
reached the zenith, and, in her dreams, she found 
herself in a pleasant park where deer abounded, 
and elms and chestnuts made pleasant shade. 
Yet, in all her wanderings, her one trouble was, 
that Owen Giles came not. She waited for him 
where the leaves of the chestnut-trees fluttering 
cast lightly-flecked shadows upon the whispering 
and quaking grasses, and she lingered until twi- 
light came, but without avail. Then the dream 
scene changed, and Dorothy was on a lonely 
heath, far from any human habitation, and there 
she was met by Stephen Gamage, the man of 
second sight. 

When Dorothy awoke she fairly sobbed, because 
Stephen Gamage, instead of Owen Giles, was the 
man of her dreams. 

The morning of the second of May was an 
eventful one for the occujDants of Pip. 

Three of the cows refused to yield milk ; 
the cream could not be churned, and all the con- 
tents of the dairy utensils had turned quite sour ! 

Dorothy herself, somewhat soured in temper, 
because of the unpleasant dream, and the man 
of second sight appearing thereiu, readily with 
others declared that Kachel Flemynge had 
bewitched the household. 

400 Pip^ Flush ^ and Flanders 


At sunrise on the second of May, Marjorie 
Adam awoke after the most pleasant dream she 
could possibly wish to have, simply because the 
hero was Owen Griles. 

Marjorie went about her work with right 
good- will after breakfast. She sorted the linen, 
scattering between the folds thereof sprigs of 
fragrant lavender, then she set the huge chest 
in order, and afterwards, singing merrily, went 
to the kitchen to help her mother in matters 
of housewifery. 

On reaching the domestic department Marjorie 
observed that the maids were silent, and the 
mistress looked as though something had fretted 

''What is the matter?" asked Marjorie, ceas- 
iug her sons;. " Has the bell of St. lltutus been 
stolen, or has it rained black rain ? " 

" Neither," said her mother fretfully. " But 
all the milk in the dairy has turned sour, and 
the cream refuses to churn. What we shall 
do, / don't know." 

Marjorie did not wholly doubt her mother, 
and yet she could not quite believe that matters 
were so much awry. But when she saw for 
herself that the milk was curdled, and the 
cream refused to be churned, she exclaimed, 

Madam Giles 401 

''This is Eachel Flemynge's work." In which 
supposition the inmates of Flush agreed. 


Madam Giles, standing in tlie sloping garden, 
looked down through the closely clipped arch- 
way of arbutus and sweet-scented bay, and 
called her son to her side. 

"What means all this commotion down at 
Pip and Flush ? " she asked. " Our neighbours 
yonder are running hither and thither like 
people bewitched." 

''And so in truth, they are," replied Owen, 
who related the experiences of the respective 

" The milk in our dairy is not curdled," said 
Madam Giles, " and the churning was accom- 
plished before breakfast." 

" Do you know why ? " asked Owen. 

''Nay," replied his mother. 

"Nicholas our ploughman, remembering the 
tricks of witches about the ist of May, set 
small twigs of mountain -ash here and there 
around our premises. He says, as we all know, 
that the smallest twio- of mountain-ash crossinsf 
the path of a witch will stop her career, no 
matter how wild she may be going." 

Even as Owen Giles spoke, Rachel Flemynge, 

2 c 

402 Pip, Flush, and Flanders 

curtseying, opened the gate, and ascended the 

" What hast thou been doing % " asked Madam 
Giles sternly. 

"Nothing, madam, nothing," replied Rachel, 
trembling and wincing under the old lady's 

" Dost thou call it ' nothing ' to curdle the 
milk in the dairies of thy neighbours and betters, 
and to prevent the cream being churned ? " 

" It is not my work, madam," said Rachel, 
nervously clasping her hands. " Is the milk in 
Flanders curdled, and doth the cream refuse to 
churn ? " 

"Nay," replied Madam Giles, "and in good 
sooth there is a cause for the exemption. 
Nicholas our ploughman used his arts magic 
against the witch." 

Owen smiled, and turned gaily away on his 

Rachel Flemynge looked very grave. 

" Thou know'st thou'rt guilty," said madam, 
looking piercingly into Rachel's eyes when the 
women were alone. 

" I speak truly. Madam Giles," said Rachel, 
" when I say that I did not, and know not how 
to curdle milk, or to prevent any one churning." 

Madam Giles was angry, and expressed it by 
striking the path with her gold-headed stick. 

Rachel Flemynge 403 

For years the lady of Flanders had tried to 
induce Eachel Flemynge to confess to her know- 
ledge of witchcraft, but had always failed. 

" Why then doth the reputation of witchcraft 
cling to thee, and not to me ? " asked madam, in 
a penetrating toue. 

"Madam Giles," said Eachel seriously, "I 
know no more of witchcraft than of any other 
art or craft. As to the bad reputation clinging 
to me, it came in this wise. Many years ago 
I foretold the manner of death of one of the 
Flemynges of Flemyngstone. I was then a 
maid in Flemyngstone Court, and I practised 
the art of fortune telling and palmistry for 
simple amusement. Somehow or other I got 
into the habit of foretellinor comino; events. In 
a later generation they will call that foresight, 
and the power of judging from causes of the 
present the results of the future. Fate hath 
gifted me thus, and can I help it ? " 

Madam Giles, after pondering awhile, said, 
" It may be that thou art gifted with a strange 
art, but there is no need to exercise an evil gift. 
Why dost thou do so ? " 

" I seldom do," replied Eachel. Then, lower- 
ing her voice, she added, " I augment my poor 
pittance by telling fortunes for silly maidens ; 
by selling charms, and reading the lines of the 
hand, but I do no harm." 

404 Pip, Flush^ and Flanders 

" No harm, indeed ! " reiterated madam. " I 
call it vast harm to delude maidens and make 
them believe all sorts and conditions of non- 
sense. Wliy not give up thy evil work ? " 

" Because I would starve. It is hard even now 
for a poor lone widow to get in these bad times 
a bare crust. What with losses by the great 
civil wars, and the fines to be paid, the county 
gentlefolks have little to give, and what is more, 
most of them have discharged many servants, 
and do with less workpeople than formerly. I 
used to get three, or even six days work a-week, 
when first I was widowed, but latterly I only 
got one or two out of the seven days, and of late 
I have not got one single hour, let alone a day." 

" I know the times are bad, but they do not 
make a legitimate excuse for evil practices," said 
Madam Giles, adding, '' Thou dost know the end 
of the sinner ? " 

''As described by other sinners," replied 
Eachel quickly and sharply. 

''Dost add irreverence to thy other heinous 
oifences ? " exclaimed madam sternly. 

" Nay, madam, nay," said Eachel. "But time 
and fate, and human kind, have embittered my 
soul, so that generally the little life that is lefc 
in me is like wormwood and gall." 

" In the depths of my heart, I pity thee, Eachel 
Flemynge, but bad as thou art, even now it is 

Into Galilee'' 405 

not too late for repentance. They would receive 
thee into G-alilee, if I favourably mentioned thy 
name," said Madam Giles. 

" Into Galilee ! " exclaimed Rachel. " There 
will I never submit to go. Why, madam, if I 
went there, I would at once openly confess and 
proclaim myself to be a wicked woman, and a 
witch also ! Galilee will never see me ! " 

" Then thou must remain past redemption," 
said madam gravely. 

'* Ay ! Perhaps so," responded Rachel. 

The term Galilee was applied to that part of 
the parish church which was set at the service of 
the excommunicated. There, clothed in sack- 
cloth and ashes, the offender was allowed to stand 
and hear the services, and afterwards pray for 
absolution, but, to gain complete forgiveness, 
he was obliged to humiliate himself on three 
different occasions. Then, as a rule, in Lent he 
was shriven, and duly received by the priest, 
after which he was reinstated among the wor- 
shippers in the church. 

The Galilee of Llantwit Major parish church 
is, even in the present day, in a fair state of 
preservation, although time has rendered it 

*' Dost thou clearly understand what I say ?" 
asked Madam Giles. 

'^That I do," replied Rachel. ''Thou say'st 

4o6 Pip, Fhish, mid Flanders 

I must remain past redemption unless I consent 
to enter Galilee, and that I will never do. Why 
should I, madam ? " 

" To rid thy name of the stain and taint of 
\Yitchcraft," replied Madam Giles. 

" Could the priest, or any mortal, rid me of 
either?" asked Eachel. 

"The priest, as agent of the Most High, could 
do so, and the world would thus believe thee to 
be absolved. Otherwise thou must remain con- 
tent to bear the opprobrious cognomen of witch," 
said Madam Giles. 

"So be it," said Eachel. " I had rather 
falsely bear the reputation of being a witch, than 
enter into Galilee. But I am detaininsf madam. 


The morning passes, and I must be gone." 

Then, curtseying deeply, Eachel turned to 

" Stay," said madam in a kindly voice, " go 
around to the kitchen. Bad as thou art, thou 
shalt have a basketful of scraps at least." 

Eachel did as she was bidden, and Madam 
Giles filled the basket w^itli contents better and 
more than mere scraps, after which the old 
woman thankfully went her way. 

Goino: homeward throuo:h the fields behind 
Flanders, Eachel encountered several maidens, 
who, doubtless knowino' the old woman had been 
to see Madam Giles, had waited her coming. 

C harried Wood 407 

"Here, Eachel/' said one of the sauciest 
maidens, " I thought if we each obtained a piece 
of charred wood from the embers of the Beltane 
fire, and placed it under our pillows, the hus- 
band to be would appear in a vision or dream of 
the nio-ht." 


" It comes to pass thus sometimes," said 
Rachel. " I don't always place faith in that act. 
What did'st thou see in thy dream ?" 

"Oh 1 " exclaimed the merry maiden, " I saw 
a horrid little old man with bair quite white, 
and he leaned upon a staff and leered at me 
most provokingly. Besides which he had a 
great bag full — of bones, I expect. From that 
I suppose I am to marry a beggar or a sexton." 

"Nay," replied Rachel "Let me see thy hand." 

The girl laughingly revealed her left palm. 

" Thou'lt marry a man many years older than 
thee. And he will be exceedingly rich. He was 
the man of thy dream," said Rachel. 

" Oh ! oh ! " shouted the other girls, laughing 
heartily. " A rich old man ! Fie for shame ! 
Thou'rt a money hunter ! " 

" What did'st thou dream ? " asked Rachel, 
addressing Dorothy Yanne. 

" Nothing particular," said the proud beauty, 
with a toss of her head. 

" Not of Owen Giles ? " queried one of the 
girls saucily. 

4o8 Pip^ Flush, and Flanders 

" The man of FJanders is nothing whatever to 
me," said Dorothy. 

" Since when ? " asked one. 

" What a change ! " remarked another. 

"No change at all," said Dorothy. "I don't 
care a rap for Owen Giles ! " But, although she 
sharply snapped her fingers, burning blushes 
Heeted over her cheeks, and her dark eyes 
sparkled wonderfully. 

"What did'st thou dream?" asked Eachel. 
"/have a right to know." 

" Well, there's no harm telling, since 'tis 
certain I shall never marry the man of my 
dream. I saw Stephen Gam age." 

"Stephen Gamage ! " exclaimed one of the 

" The man of second sight ! " said another. 

" That was not a bad omen," remarked Eachel. 
" It is good to dream of a man gifted with second 
sight. It means a romantic courtship, and pos- 
sibly a strange and lofty marriage." 

" There now," said one of the girls. " Perhaps 
thou shalt marry a fine lord and be a grand lady 
— far grander than to be mistress of Flanders." 

" It may be so," said Dorothy. " Perhaps I 
shall have grandeur without happiness." 

There was a slightly sneerful tone in her 
voice, and the maidens believed she could only 
gain happiness with Owen Giles. 

Majorie Adam 409 

''Thou art very quiet," remarked Eachel to 
Marjorie Adam. '' What was thy dream ? " 

Marjorie hesitated. 

She did not like to relate her dream because 
of Dorothy Yanne. 

Seeing her reluctant to tell, the girls beseeched 

''Thou must let us know," they cried. " We 
all have promised, and w^ill not let thee be an 

Blushing deeply, even to the roots of her 
hair, Marjorie Adam said, "The man of my 
dream was " 

" Speak out," interrupted the girls, almost in 
one voice. 

" Owen Giles," said Marjorie ; then she hid 
her face in her hands. 

" Tall and stately Owen Giles of Flanders," 
said Eachel slowly. 

" Owen Giles will never marry again while his 
mother lives," exclaimed Dorothy Vaune, with a 
toss of her head, "and Madam Giles is only 
sixty this year. So anybody who waits for him 
will wait till their hair turns grey." 

Then she tripped gaily homewards through 
the fields. 

" She's jealous," said the girls to Marjorie, 
who, in reply, remarked, " That is why I liked 
not to tell, but all uro^ed me." 

4IO Pip, Fhish, and Flanders 

"Ay," said Kachel, "a promise is a promise, 
aud all agreed to abide by it." 

Rachel Flemynge, after bidding her auditors 
a pleasant "good morning," proceeded to the 
gate-house, and the maidens fluttered like white 
doves towards the sea, singing as they went one 
of the songs of the period. In sweet and perfect 
unison the maidens sang — 

"The fairest hopes fulfihiient find 

In May ! in May ! 
All clouds and gloom are left behind 
In May ! in May ! 
The hours are bright, the days are long, 
And gladness comes with love and song 
In May ! in May ! 

O maidens all, 'tis sweet to live 

In May ! in May ! 

For love its rarest tokens give 

In May ! in May I 

And life is like a blissful dream. 

When song-birds sing and sunbeams gleam 
In May ! in May ! 

In all the years that are in store, 

Our fairest May 
Will live in memory evermore ! 
And when the flowers and white thorns bloom, 
In dreams will come, through care and gloom. 
The voice that thrill'd, the words that brought 
Love's magic spell to us unsought. 

In May ! in May ! " 

The Eve of All Saints 41 1 

The Monastery Gate-House. 

If Rachel FJemynge hoped to be alone on the 
eve of All Saints she was disappointed. 

Several visitors came to see her, and the 
herb concoctions with which she had busied 
herself during the afternoon were set aside for 
" customers." 

A dense and dripping fog came ghostlike 
through the long meadows and ascended the 
hills. With its filmy warp and woof it encircled 
the fifth century university town, and totally 
obliterated the distance. 

In the fog, the ancient monastery gate-house 
looked like a sentinel guarding the mysteries of 
the past. There, hoary with age, that last 
remnant of the thirteenth-century monastic 
buildings stood in the seventeenth century, and 
there it still stands in the present day. It is 
now in a condition of semi-decadence, unin- 
habited, but still fairly preserved with its out- 
side stairway, and porch now covered with ivy. 
Down below the hill on which the gate-house 
stands is the church dedicated to St. II tutus. 
En the churchyard are the celebrated crosses, 
some of which are supposed to have been erected 
so early as the fifth century. 

Beyond the church, and in the centre of 

4 1 2 Pip, Fhish, and Flanders 

the town, stands the hall of justice, with its 
gilded weathercock and ancient bell bearing 

the motto — 

" Ora pro nobis sancte Iltute." 

Beside the Town Hall, quaint and antique 
Tudor-built houses appear with their curious 
doorways and windows, and even in the present 
day numerous traces of its former importance 
are to be found in the fifth century university 
town of Llantwit Major, where, in the winter 
nights, the curfew bell has been rung from the 
days of the Norman Conqueror until the present 
year of grace. 

Just as the curfew proclaimed the hour of 
eight, in the year 1668, Stephen Gamage passed 
through the churchyard and ascended the steep 
and rugged roadway leading to the gate-house. 

When he rapped at the door, Kachel Flemynge 
immediately responded. 

''Hast thou had any callers this evening?" 
asked Stephen Gamage, taking the fireside corner 
of one of the worm-eaten oaken settles. 

" A few, but not so many as last year," replied 
Rachel. " The fog is bad, times are poor, and 
money is scarce." 

Then they talked the general town gossip, in 
the midst of which somebody knocked at the door. 

" Come in," said Rachel without moving, and 
Owen Giles entered. 

'^ Come Home with Me at once^^ 413 

" Good night to you," said Owen. 

Eachel and Stephen simultaneously returned 
the greeting. 

'' I have come up to question thee," said OweD, 
addressing Eachel. 

" What about ? " she asked. 

" The horses in the stables refuse to move ; 
the cattle have not touched or tasted food for 
forty-eight hours, and one of the farm-boys has 
slept for tweuty-four hours without waking," said 

" And that is brought home to my doors, I 
suppose," said Eachel bitterly. " It is of course 
my fault. Dost thou believe so ? " 

" I do not," said Owen. " But strange things 
have occurred of late, and there appears to be no 
explanation, even if thou can st supply remedies. 
My mother begs thee to come home with me at 

'' On the supposition that only a witch can 
heal the effects of witchcraft," said Stephen 

Eachel readily accompanied Owen Giles to 
Flanders, although the fog was dense, and the 
November night air was raw and chill. 

Madam Giles waited for them in the kitchen. 

" What hast thee been doing ? " she asked of 

"I have done naught," replied Eachel. 

4 1 4 Pip^ Flush, and Flanders 

" In May last I spoke seriously to thee, but 
all to no purpose," said madam severely, " and 
now the twigs of the mountain-ash have failed 
to prove preventatives against thy witchcraft. 
Go now and treat the victims of thy art." 

Each el obeyed, and before she quitted Flan- 
ders the horses moved, the cattle began to eat, 
and the farm-boy, at the old woman's touch, 
quickly awoke. 

Owen Giles accompanied Rachel home, and 
paused a moment at the door of the gate-house. 

"Come in with me," said Rachel. 

"Not again," replied Owen. 

" Hast thou ever tried thy luck, or had thy 
fate revealed ? " asked Rachel. 

"Nay," replied Owen. 

" Come in, then, and have one or the other," 
said Rachel. "None but Stephen Gamage shall 
hear or know of it." 

Owen, by no means reluctant, entered. 

" This is one of the three spirit-nights," re- 
marked Rachel, as she poked the fire. 

" I. know," replied Owen, slightly shiveriug. 

Rachel, observing this, begged him to draw 
nearer the fire, then she proceeded to read the 
lines upon his hand. 

" The line of fortune promises some fame, but 
not great riches," said Rachel. " Thy fate will 
be fortunate, but some trouble precedes success. 

Stately Owen Giles 415 

Thou wilt be lured by beauty, and sometimes by 
pleasure of short duration, but thou wilt be gifted 
with prudence and wisdom, and will be happy 
again in thy later affections." 

" Shall I marry again ? " asked Owen. 

" The woman that is to be thy second wife 
must first be married to another man. When 
she is widowed, and thou art in thy prime, the 
marriage will take place," said Rachel. 

*' Better twice than never," remarked Stephen. 

Owen laughed. 

While Rachel entertained Owen Giles in the 
monastery gate-house, merry parties of youths 
and maidens in Pip and Flush were burning nuts 
upon the hearths, or trying to snatch apples 
floating in tubs of water, or using every art to 
bite the apple instead of the end of tallow sus- 
pended by a cord from the rafters. Some of the 
girls, more venturesome than the others, tried 
the knife and sheath spell. In the History of 
Llangynivyd, by Mr. T. C. Evans, better known 
in Wales as " Cadrawd," this curious and ancient 
spell is thus described : — " If the operator was a 
girl she was to place a knife, stuck on end, in 
the corner of the leek-bed in the garden, retain- 
ing the sheath in her hand, on a dark night, and 
after ten o'clock, in absolute secrecy, she was 
then to walk backwards around the bed, carry- 
ing the sheath in her right hand. She was on no 

4 1 6 Pip^ Flush, and Flanders 

account to look behind her, and was to be very 
careful not to stumble. If her destiny was to be 
matrimony, her lover's shade would appear, take 
out the knife from the earth, and place it in the 
sheath. It is said that a young girl, on one occa- 
sion, in performing this trick, was beset by two 
shades at once. The consequence was that she 
became the victim of the wicked wiles of one of 
them, and eventually the wife of the other." 

All the arts and practices recommended by 
Rachel, the witch, or by Stephen, the man 
of second sigrht, were tried to the utmost, and 
towards midnight, a crowd of boys went to peep 
through the keyhole of the church door to see 
the spiritual forms of those who were to depart 
this life during the ensuing year. 

Some maidens following the ancient custom, 
ate apples while dressing their hair, in the hope 
that their future husbands would come and look 
over their shoulders, and into their mirrors (if 
they had any) before which they stood. 

More than one girl set her body linen on a 
chair before the fire, and seated herself in a quiet 
corner, where, seeing and yet not being seen, she 
mioht watch the lover that was to come and 


turn the garment. 

But not one of the girls ventured to place a 
piece of charred wood from the Beltane fire under 
their pillows again, since the report had gone 

Arrested 417 

forth, that when, in the May time, they did so, 
some witchery and mischief were connected 
therewith, else how was it that the milk in the 
dairies curdled and the cream refused to churn ? 

All the parish revolted against the use of the 
charred wood, which had been destroyed by com- 
mon consent and j&re before the Town Hall. 

Love philtres and charms were the order of 
that eve of All Saints, and " first foot of winter," 
and late hours, even in the best regulated houses, 
were the rule in the whole district. 

Fourteen days later Eachel Flemyuge was 
arrested for witchcraft. 

The accuser was Madam Giles of Flanders, and 
the offence was that Eachel Flemynge had, in 
the presence of Edward Vanne of Pip, James 
Adam of Flush, Owen Giles of Flanders, and 
John Turberville, declared she could fly. What 
was more daring, in Madam Giles' opinion, the 
witch assured them she was able to fly without 
the aid of wings, which even the smallest bird 
would have found impossible. 

It was a great day w^hen ''Eachel was put on 
her trial." 

People came long distances to attend the trial, 
and men, women, youths, and maidens congre- 
gated around the Town Hall long before the 
hour appointed for the assembly of the court. 

2 D 

41 8 Pip^ Flush, and Flanders 

Sir Thomas Stradling, of St. Donats Castle, 
was to judge the case, and, accompanied by 
several local magnates, he took his seat. 

Witnesses were called upon both sides, and 
Madam Giles appeared in person. 

When all the evidence had been obtained, Sir 
Thomas Stradling called out, " Eachel Flemynge, 
stand forth," and the reputed witch promptly 

"Thou hast declared to these witnesses that 
thou canst fly, and they believe it is impossible 
for thee to do so. Now I ask thee, on thy oath, 
and before these thy neighbours — canst thou 


" I said so, sir," replied Eachel, curtseying low. 

'' Then do so as soon as thou dost like," said 
Sir Thomas Stradling. '' There is no law against 
flying. I therefore dismiss the case with costs." 

All present were surprised, but Madam Giles 
was angry, and went home in hot haste. 

'' I never could have believed it, never," she 
exclaimed to her son. '' A Stradling leagued 
with a witch ! He may be a patron of witch- 
craft, or even a wizard himself." 

"Mother!" exclaimed Owen Giles. 

"Yes; I blush to think that my countryman, 
Sir Thomas Stradling, Colonel of Infantry to 
King Charles the Second, should release a witch, 
who plays meg's diversions with all the parish, 

Te7i Years Later 419 

and confesses that she can fly, when anybody 
with sense knows such a statement to be pre- 
posterous," said Madam Giles. 

'' Sir Thomas always discountenances the 
mischievous and often fatal practice of trying- 
persons for the off'ence of witchcraft," remarked 

''Eachel will come to a bad end, mark my 
words ! " exclaimed Madam Giles. 

"Never fear," said Ow^en. "Eachel can mind 
herself, I'll warrant." 


Ten years bad flown since the memorable 
May time, wdien the maidens of Pip and Flush 
had "tried their fortune" by means of the 
charred wood from the Beltane fire. Two years 
after Rachel's trial, Marjorie Adam left Wales as 
the wife of Captain Meredith, an English officer 
in King Charles the Second's Guards. Soon 
afterwards, Dorothy Yanne was married to one 
of the Stradlings, and went to the Devonshire 
estate of Coombe Hawey. 

Captain Meredith died in 1676, and Marjorie 
returned to live with her parents. She had but 
one child, a daughter, who soon found her way 
to Flanders, where she w^as petted and spoiled 
by stately Owen Giles. 

420 Pip, Flush^ and Flanders 

It was the eve of May 1678. 

As of old, those who were accustomed to 
kindle the Beal or Beltane fire, went to the 
Castle Ditches. There the people as usual con- 
gregated, and sang and danced as in the days 
gone by. 

In the twilight of that day Marjorie Meredith 
thought of her May dream ten years before. 
Her marriage, entered upon to please her parents, 
had been loveless. Still in her mind, and always 
in her reverie of the p)ast, stately Owen Giles 
took the place of honour. 

Musing in this manner, just where the grey 
wavelets of the Severn Sea came rippling over 
the yellow sands, Marjorie Meredith was not 
aware of the approach of a second or third 
jDerson. One was Owen Giles, the other was 
Dorothy Meredith. 

The merry laughter of her little daughter dis- 
turbed Marjorie in her reverie, and she got up 
from the rock on which she was seated to greet 
Owen Giles. 

Looking up, she was almost awed by his stately 
stature, but she readily entered into conversa- 
tion with him, and they soon wended their way 

As they went along the meadows, just as of 
old, a group of merry maidens came singing the 
customary song of May, which, with others, she 

May Memories 421 

sang in the long ago. The song thrilled her 
heart, and every word seemed to sink into her 
soul. She thought of her ''fairest" May, and 
only wished that her hopes could find fulfilment 
in the month of blossoms, or, for the matter of 
that, any other time, provided it would be soon 
— yes soon, very soon. 

Owen Giles, observing that Marjorie was in a 
thoughtful mood, talked with Dorothy, and 
paused now and again to reach branches thick 
with May-blossoms for the child. 

That night, when the people who took part in 
the Beltane festivities reached the highest point 
of excitement, and the dancers, hand in hand, 
went almost madly around the fire, Rachel 
Flemynge darted through the crowd as of old, 
and with her staff stirred the driftwood. 

In a harsh croakino^ voice she sanor — 

" Through good and evil, through weal and woe, 
From life to death we all must go." 

Then seizing a burning brand she held it aloft, 
and swayed it to and fro in the sight of the 
frightened multitude. 

Mothers and maidens screamed with terror ; 
men and youths looked amazed at the witch, 
who appeared to have taken leave of her senses. 

While the vast crowd stood speechless and 
spellbound, Richard Flemynge excitedly pushed 

42 2 Pip, Flush, and Flanders 

his way towards Eachel, and endeavoured to 
take the brand from his sister's hand. 

With almost supernatural strength Rachel, 
still brandishing the faggot, fiercely thrust her 
brother from her side. What happened next 
everybody witnessed, but not a person could 
tell how the disaster came about. 

As the terror-stricken people gazed speech- 
lessly at the witch, Richard Flemynge was seen 
to sway to and fro like one drunken ; then he 
stao-o^ered face forward into the midst of the 
Beltane fire, and there was no help for him ! 

Human hands failed to save him, and the 
crowd turned helplessly away from the sickening 
sight of flames fed by mortal agony. 

In the commotion and subsequent astonish- 
ment Rachel Flemynge disappeared. 

" She did the deed. ! " cried one in the crowd. 
"The witch thrust her brother into the Beltane 

" Stay ! " shouted Stephen Gamage. '' I fore- 
told his death." 

" Ay ! ay ! " responded several men, as in one 
breath ; "we remember." 

"What didst thou say?" demanded the others 

" That he would die a death which he and 
his people deemed the least likely. I meant he 
would be accidentally burnt alive," said Stephen. 

" The Witch is Gidlty I'' 423 

The crowd fairly groaned. 

Then those who were maliouant towards Eachel 
grew excited, and the spokesman of the party 
shouted, '' She did it 1 The witch is guilty ! She 
thrust her brother into the fire, and she shall 
suffer for it ! An eye for an eye — a tooth for a 
tooth ! " 

With that, the infuriated multitude, whom no 
human force or persuasion could stay, rushed 
downwards from the Castle Ditches and hastened 
to the monastery gate-house, hopiug to find and 
secure Eachel, but she was not there. 

Scared by the terrible fate of her brother, 
and knowino^ that her enemies would accuse 
her of murder, Eachel escaped the town, but 
ultimately, lack of funds, and, most of all, expo- 
sure, hindered her progress, so that one day 
she was discovered in the woodlands around 
Llantrythid and brought home to Llantwit and 
to justice. 

All the old schemes against her for witchcraft 
were set aside, in the new and more feasible 
charore against her. She was tried and found 
guilty of " a most unnatural and inhuman form 
of murder, fratricidal," and the reputed witch 
was sentenced to be "burned alive." 

Accordingly a stake was erected near the 
ancient town cross, and thereto Eachel was led 
for execution. 

424 Pip-, Flush, and Flanders 

On ODe side of her stood Edward Vanne of Pip, 
on the other was James Adam of Flush, both of 
whom were among the jurors. 

Sir Thomas Stradling purposely absented him- 
self from both the trial and the execution, and 
his place, as judge, was filled by Richard Basset 
of Beaupre. 

''May I speak?" asked Rachel calmly when 
she approached the stake. 

" Thou may'st," said the judge compassion- 
ately, as he silenced the mob that hissed and 
yelled unmercifully. 

Rachel Flemynge folded her hands and looked 
prayerfully to the sk}^ Her poor pale face was 
painfully attenuated, her once bright eyes were 
tear-dimmed and deeply sunken in their sockets, 
her thin and wasted body was shattered by 
imprisonment and lack of nutriment, and her 
parched lips quivered with heart agony and 
strong emotion. 

Clearly, and in distinct tones, Rachel Flemynge 
addressed the multitude — 

" In the sight of heaven, aiid in hearing of 
my fellow-mortals, I solemnly declare that I am 
innocent of the crime with which I have been 
charged and proclaimed guilty. But I would 
say one word to those among whom I have lived 
a long life-time — ^ Let him ivho is tvithout sin 
cast the first stoned' 

'' A Sip of Water ' 425 

She paused, and the multitude hissed and 
hooted amid cries of '' Away with her ! " — 
''Despatch the Witch ! " — '' Burning is too good 
for her I " 

''Silence!" sternly commanded the judge, 
adding, "Let the woman liave opportunity of 
speech for the last time." Then he directed 
Rachel to continue. 

"I go," she said, "the last of the Flemynges, 
to the regions of the Unknown; but before T 
depart, I prophesy that the last of the Yannes, 
and the last of the Adams, stand beside me. 
Their names shall die in the dust, and their 
gravestones shall be pavement for men's feet. 
I go — tlie innocent, the persecuted — to mv 
martyrdom, not as a saint, but as a mortal con- 
demned by sinners, and as a woman to whom 
fate hath been cruelly harsh. Farewell ! I 
forgive you all ! Now ' let him ivho is ivithout 
sin cast the first stoneJ " 

Yanne of Pip and Adam of Flush drew back 
a pace. 

The men around the stake quailed. The crowd 
remained silent. 

"Before I go hence, I would fain have a sip 
of water," said Rachel humbly. 

For a moment there was no response, but 
while Rachel looked sadly yet eagerly around, 
Owen Giles pressed through the crowd, and with 

426 Pip, Flush, and Flanders 

his own hand gave the poor woman a cup of cold 
water. It w^as little to give, but given freely 
and in deepest sympathy. 

^' A dying woman's blessings on thee and thine 
for ever," said Eachel, when her fevered thirst 
was slaked. "The name of Giles shall suivive 
throuo^h Ion or centuries when other names have 
passed away." 

In the brief silence that followed, the men 
around the stake were busily engaged in disen- 
tangling the ropes that were to bind the victim 
for the burning. 

Once more Eachel Flemynge lifted up her 
voice, and as the scalding; tears fell like rain 
upon her pallid cheeks, she cried aloud, ^^ Let 
him ivho is ivithout sin cast the first stone'/' 

Then, trembling with emotion, and staggering 
backward, Rachel fell into the outstretched arms 
of stately Owen Giles. 

" She is dead ! " cried Owen Giles, in a hoarse 
but subdued tone, as he directed one of the by- 
standers to stretch his mantle upon the road 
beside the cross, and they laid Eachel Flemynge's 
body thereon. 

No need now of ropes wherewith to bind the 
poor frail remnant of mortality ; no need now of 
tow, and hemp, and tarred faggots, for the burn- 
ing ; no need now of tinder and spark, or flame 
of fire. 


Old L Ian iltyd Vawr 427 

Death in sinless sympathy had " cast the first 
stone ! " 

Quaint and quiet, in the midst of their old- 
time gardens, Pip, Flush, and Flanders still 
stand, but the Vaimes and the Adams are gone, 
and their gravestones have become '' pavements 
for men's feet." 

But the name of the seventeenth century 
owner of Flanders, by the union of Owen Giles, 
widower, with Marjorie Meredith, widow, de- 
scended through long generations, and still 
survives in the surrounding country, although 
it has become extinct in Llantwit Major, for- 
merly known as Old Llauiltyd Vawr, or the 
" Sacred Place of Iltyd the Great." 


Admiral Nutt, 241. 
After loug years, 205. 
All in all to him, 207. 
Ancient customs, 416. 

farm-houses, 98. 

■ town cross, 423. 

Arnold St. John, 277. 
Arrested, 417. 

Asti'onomers, three blessed, 48. 
Aubreys, one of the, 119. 

Baal Fire, 383. 

Bala, 130. 

Bards, 392. 

Bard's Lament," " The, 394. 

Barnstaple Bay, 228. 

Beli, 384. 

Bell of St. Iltutus, 400. 

Beltane festivities, 383. 

fire, the, 387. 

Belyn and Elined, 67. 

ap Madoc, 48, 

Bendith-y-Mamau, the, 38. 
Berwyn mountains, the, 50. 
Bethel, in, 191. 
Betty Barebones, 129. 
Bewitched household, a, 399. 
Blessed astronomers, three, 48. 
Bouvilstone, 117. 
Breaksea Point, 93. 
Breconshire, Builth, 103. 
Brenin Llwyd, the, 53, 
Bridegroom's madness, a, 295. 
Bride and bridegroom, 263. 

, the beautiful, 175. 

Bridgend, 46. 

Brynach ap Howe], 171. 

Brychan Brycheiniog, 69, 

Builth, Breconshire, 103. 

" Burn her for a witch ! " 389. 

Button, Morgan, 41. 

of Sheepcote, Miles, 40, 

Cadwalade, 373. 
Caerleon, 373. 

Caerweu, 249. 
Candle, dead man's, 89. 
Captivity, in, 85. 
Cardiff, 373. 
Cardigan Bay, 61. 
Carnarvon, 253. 
Castell Carreg, 36. 

Towyn, 364. 

Castle ditches, 383. 

Cattraeth, the lord of, 59. 

Ceridwen, 384. 

Chair of Idris, in the, 53. 

Charred wood, 407. 

Charter, the People's, 311. 

Chartism, 321. 

Cheeses, the, 235. 

Christian college, the first, 382. 

Christmas Eve, 135. 

Church Llantysilio, 23. 

Cloud of feathers, a, 271. 

Cogan Pill, 38. 

Coity, 373. 

Colhugh Point, 383. 

Colyn Dolphyn, t^. 

Coming home, 255. 

Cowbridge, 117. 

Croeswylau, 179. 

Crosses, ancient, 383. 

Cross, the valley of the, 96. 

Crwn annwn, the, 138. 

Curfew bell, the, 412. 

Curse from the altar, the, 25. 

Cyhyraeth, the, 305. 

Cyril's return, 43. 

Cyveiliog Owain, 57. 

Ddu, Eobin, 16. 

Ddu's warning, Robin, 29. 

Dead man's candle, 89. 

Dee, the sacred, 13. 

Deliverance from peril, in. 

Devil's chimney, the, 235. 

Devil's limekiln, the, 235. 

Dewryn, 74. 

Digging the snow away, 153. 




Dinah David, Aunt, 187. 

Dinas, Bran, 353. 

Dinas rock, 376. 

Ditty Morgan, 303. 

Dolgelly, 49. 

Dominica, the, 291. 

Dorothy Vanne, 397. 

Dream, the master's, 27. 

Drovers, among the, 131 

Druids, 392. 

Druid's Dirge," "The, 393. 

Duffryn, 39. 

Dunraven, 83. 

Dynwen, 69. 

Dynwen's bow of destiny, 69. 

Dyuwen's cave, 69. 

Dysynni, the river, 377. 

Dwyvach, 384. 

Dwyvan, 384. 

Edward the First, 57. 
Elined, 65. 

Elizabeth, Lady Stradling, 75. 
End is Comin','' "The, 155. 
Eve of All Saints, 411. 

Faith in fairy folk, old, 99. 

Feliii hen, 211. 

Fells, the, 189. 

Ffarwel, Myvanwy Vychan I 365. 

Fifth century university towu, 382. 

Firefly's pace, 45. 

Firelight, in the, 289. 

Flanders, 381. 

Flemings, the, 381. 

Flemyngstone, 403. 

Flemyngstone court, 403. 

Flemynge's work, Kachel, 401. 

Flush, 381. 

Folk story of Castell Carreg, a, 36. 

" Follow me," 349. 

''For your life go back," 105. 

Freeh "Wen, the, 219. 

Funeral procession, the, 33. 

Gam Dafydd, 373. 

Galilee, the, 405. 

Gannet Coombe, 229. 

Garland, Captain, 169. 

Ghost, Lady's Jane's, 351. 

Ghostly annoyance, the heritage of, 

Ghostly visitant, a, 23. 
Giles, the name of, 427. 
"Give me rest ! " 367. 
Glamorgan, the vale of, 37. 

Glendower in South Wales, Owen, 


Owen, 49. 

Golden Bay, 228. 

Mile, the, 46. 

Gower, in the land of, 283. 
Grand sight, a, 151. 
Grey King, the, 53, 
Grim shadow, a, 32. 
Gronwy, 58. 
Gruffydd ap Madoc, 

the harpist, 59. 

Gruesome scene, a strange and, 145. 
Gwenllian of Craig-y-Mwyn, 171. 
Gwilvm ap Howel, 64. 
Gwlad ar Hav, 78. 
Gwrach-y-rhybin, the, 138. 
Gwydion, the son of Don, 48. 
Gwygyr, 57. 
Gwyn ap Nudd, 384. 

son of Nudd, 48. 

Gwj'nedd, Owen, 96. 

Harlech Castle, 63. 
Henry the Fourth, 61. 

the Sixth, King, 73. 

Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, Wil- 
liam, 75. 
Herdsman's cottage, the, 143. 
Hirlais horn, the, 58. 
Holms Flat, 79. 
Holm, the steep, 36. 
Honddu, the rivei-, 373. 
Horse Shoe Weir, the, 13. 

Idris Gawr, 51. 

Idris the Great, 48. 

Iltyd the Great, sacred place of, 

In the Sea-SicaUoiv, 79. 
" Into Galilee," 405. 
lolo Goch's ode, 363. 

Morgan wg, 87. 

Ivor the cowboy, 137. 

Joshua Morgan, 183. 

Killed in a duel, 351. 
King of Wales, 372. 

Lady Jane's ghost, 347. 

Lake Llynclys, 181. 

Lametor, the peninsula of, 226, 

Laver-gatherers, 68. 

Lelaud's Itinerary, 77. 

"Let by-gones be by-gones," 31. 




Lewis Thomas, 91. 

Lidmoor, 39. 

Lion of Freedom," " The, 315. 

Lisworiiey, 160. 

Living alone, 161. 

Llandaff, 373. 

Llandow, 339. 

Llandovery, 265. 

Llanfabon, 185. 

Llanfyllyn, 125. 

Llangollen, no. 

Llangynwyn," " History of , 415. 

Llaniltyd Vawr, 382. 

Llanymynach Rocks, 179. 

Llantrythid, 119. 

Llanwddyn, 125. 

Llantwit crosses, 383. 

Major, 382. 

Llantysilio church. 23. 

hall, 14. 

Llew, the bard, 357. 
Llewellyn Gwyn, 323. 

Prince, 104. 

Lord of Dinas Bran, the, 379. 

of Lundy, the, 241. 

Lundy, 226. 

Machynlleth, at, loi. 

Madam Giles, 417. 

Madoc, Belyn ap, 48. 

Mallt-y-Nos, 73. 

Manor, the lord of the, 165. 

Mari Llwyd, the, 309. 

Marisco Castle, 227. 

Marjorie Adam, 409. 

Master's death, the, 33. 

Master of Llantysilio, the, 15. 

Matilda of the night, 'JZ- 

IMay-day, 259. 

May-dew, 395. 

IMay the lirst, 401. 

May memories, 421. 

Meifod, 105. 

Merch Megan, 307. 

Merionethshire coast, 377. 

Meyrick of Northcliffe, Roger, 39. 

Michael Giles, 163. 

Midnight, born at, 26. 

Moat house, the, 161. 

Moel Hebog, 377, 

Monarch of the sun, 384. 

Monastery gate house, the, 411. 

Moreiddig, 58. 

Morris dancers, 224. 

Mountain-ash, twigs of, 401. 

Mumbles man-o'-war, the, 241. 

Mynyddawe, the guards of, 59. 
Mysterious voices, 55. 

N ANT- Y- Garth, 127. 
Nash sands, 343. 
Neath valley, 376. 
Nos Galan, 331. 

Ogof Owain, 377. 

Ogof, the cave of, 179. 

Old Llaniltyd Vawr, 427. 

■' Old post," the, 117. 

Olwen of Carno, 171. 

"On — "Welshmen — on ! " 375. 

Orchard, in the, 193. 

Our AVatkin, 247. 

Ovates, 392. 

Owain ap Brynach, 173. 

Owain's Cave, 377. 

Owen Giles, stately, 415. 

Owen Glendower, 49. 

Owen Gwynedd, 96. 

Owain Cyveiliog, 57. 

Parliament house, the, 103. 

Pastures of the heavens, 333. 

Peep into the future," "a, 49. 

Penraark, 373. 

Perilous errand, a, 147. 

Peterstone, 115, 

Pharaoh Llewelyn, 236. 

Philtres, love, 417. 

Pip, 381. 

Pirate's invocation, 87. 

Plinliinmon, 377. 

Porlock, 387. 

Port Diuorwic, 211. 

Powys, the poet-prince of, 57 

Pronoville, Captain, 227. 

Prosser Davy, 241. 

Pryce, Sir Lloyd, 285. 

Quakers' Yard, 185. 
Quantock ranges, 387. 

Rachel Flemynge, 403. 
Rat Island, 227. 
Rattles Bay, 236. 
Rebecca riots, 114. 
Reuben Llewelyn, 236, 
Reynold's cave, 69. 
Rhossilly's barometer, 293. 
Rliys Griffith, 253, 
Rhys the Red, 221. 
Robber's leaj), the, 223. 
Robin Ddu, 16. 
Robin Ddu's warning, 29. 



Koger's companion, 41. 
Ryence, King, 335. 

Sacred place of Iltyd the Great, 

the, 427. 
Salem, the minister of, 251. 
Sclyt the Fearless, 57. 
Severn Sea, the, 36, 
Sexton, the angered, 313. 
Shadow, a grim, 32. 
Ship in distress, a, 93. 
Shutter Rock, the, 235, 
Sip of water," " a, 425. 
Sir Harry's beacon," " Good, 83. 
Sker, 93. 

Small pox, the, 217. 
Snowdon, 245. 
Snowy grave, a, 157. 
Solitary coast, 
Solitary travellers, 97. 
Song of the period, a, 410. 
Songs and hymns, 307. 
Spectral figures, three, 24. 
Spirit singer, the, iii. 
Spring cleaning, the, 213. 
Stag, the, 273. 
Stars, watching the, 51. 
Stairs, Lewis Thomas's, 95. 
St. Barbe, the, 78. 
St. Donat's castle, 71. 
St. Fagan's, the battle of, 39. 
St. Iltutus, 382. 
St. John, the eve of, 22. 
St. Lythan's Down, 37. 
St. Nicholas, 37. 
Stradling family, the, 71. 
Stradling, Sir Harry, 71- 
Stradling, Sir Peter, 72. 
Stradling, Sir Thomas, 90. 
Strange sounds and footsteps, 139. 
Stranger's arrival, the, 33. 
Stei)hen's reverie, 385. 
Steep Holm, the, 36, 
" Stick to your Charter," 327. 
Supernatural, experiences of the, 96. 
Sutton manor house, 338. 


Swansea, 373. 

bay, in, 243. 

Sycharth, 362. 

Talgarth, 58. 

Tailor and madam, the, 19. 

Taliesiu, son of lolo Morganwg, 87. 

Taranis, 392. 

Templar Rock, the 235. 

Ten years later, 419. 

Thomas Lewis, 91. 

" Through art magic," 371. 

Tinkiu's wood, 42. 

" To-morrow ! " 257. 

Town hall, Llantwit Major, 412. 

Tragic ending, a, 301. 

Tre-Gwilym, 81. 

Tresiliau, 69. 

Trial of the witch, the, 417. 

Tudwr, 57. 

Tuscar, the, 83. 

Twm o' Garth, 133. 

Tylwyth Teg, the, 38. 

Tyrwhit, 90. 

Under Owen Glendower, 61. 
Ursula the bride, 287. 

j Vale of worship, 37. 

' of Glamorgan, the, 37. 

I Valley of the cross, 96. 

Valle Crucis Abbev, 105. 

I Vawr, Old Llaniltyd, 427. 

j Vychan Howell, 355. 

j Vyrnwy waterworks, 159. 

"Wales, for the honour and free- 
dom of, 361. 

king of, 372. 

■ in the past, 385. 

Watching for the " sea-thief," 81. 
Warning, Robin's, 29. 
Welsh buccaneers, 231. 

language, suppression of, 372. 

mountains, the, 147. 

Quakers, the, 183. 

Wenvoe Castle, 38. 

What a feast was there ! 267. 

What horror was before her? 297. 

Wick, 339. 

Winifred Morgan, 309. 

AVitch is guilty! " "the, 423. 

the death of the, 426, 

Witchcraft, the offence of, 419. 
Worms' Head, 293. 
Worship, the vale of, 37. 
Wylan, the monk, 177. 

Ynyr, two sons of, 57. 

Printed by Ballantvne, Hanson & Co., Edinburgh attd London